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Munster Draw Encouragement From Three-Try Win

Munster Draw Encouragement From Three-Try Win

Munster gained revenge for the Llanelli Scarlets for their recent Heineken Cup exit as they kept the Welsh side scoreless in a low-key Magners League encounter at Musgrave Park on Saturday.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, April 14

MUNSTER 20 LLANELLI SCARLETS 0, Musgrave Park (Att: 6,500)

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Scorers: Munster: Tries: Marcus Horan, Barry Murphy, Anthony Foley; Con: Ronan O’Gara; Pen: Ronan O’Gara
Llanelli: –

With their gaze firmly on next weekend’s European semi-final against Leinster, Llanelli travelled without most of their front-line players and head coach Phil Davies also chose to sit out the trip to Cork.

Munster, however, were on a mission despite not having any silverware within their sights.

Never in their professional rugby history have they lost three home matches in a row and the province proudly kept that record intact tonight, following recent losses to Leicester and Cardiff.

Tries from Marcus Horan, Barry Murphy and Anthony Foley got Declan Kidney’s side back to winning ways and edged them closer to seventh-placed Edinburgh in the league standings.

Llanelli, who included only four players from the side that thrashed the Borders last week, were immediately on the back foot and prop Horan launched himself over a close-range ruck to notch Munster’s opener in the fourth-minute.

Ronan O’Gara missed the conversion but the Scarlets, with so many changes, struggled to gain a foothold in the game and it was Munster who always looked the more potent.

Opting to keep the ball in hand rather than kick for the corners, the hosts stuck to their game-plan, but as the half wore on they were struggling to convert their dominance into points.

Scarlets scrum-half Liam Davies caught the eye behind the scrum, although his outside backs were well shackled throughout.

An O’Gara penalty from in front of the posts handed Munster their 8-0 buffer for the break, and the half closed with the visitors down to 14 men – Scarlets skipper James Bater saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Mossie Lawlor.

Encouragingly for coach Kidney, Munster were sharply out of the blocks for the second period and they made their numerical advantage pay when a neat chip through from O’Gara was gathered by Brian Carney, and the former rugby league wide man showed excellent hands when challenged by two players to offload for centre Murphy to slice over for the second try.

Munster continued to press for tries with man of the match Lifeimi Mafi the liveliest of the home backs.

Foley then plunged over from a forward drive, just past the hour mark, to confirm the Scarlets’ first defeat in five matches.

TIME LINE: 4 minutes – Munster try: Marcus Horan – 5-0; conversion: missed by Ronan O’Gara – 5-0; 32 mins – Munster penalty: Ronan O’Gara – 8-0; Half-time – Munster 8 Llanelli 0: 45 mins – Munster try: Barry Murphy – 13-0; conversion: missed by Ronan O’Gara – 13-0; 64 mins – Munster try: Anthony Foley – 18-0; conversion – Ronan O’Gara – 20-0; Full-time – Munster 20 Llanelli 0

Munster: Mossie Lawlor; Brian Carney, Barry Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Anthony Horgan; Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Frankie Sheahan, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, John O’Sullivan, Anthony Foley (capt).

Replacements used: Federico Pucciariello for Horan (65 mins), Chris Wyatt for O’Driscoll (70), John Kelly for Murphy (75), James Coughlan for Foley (76), Denis Fogarty for Sheahan (80). Not used: Brian O’Meara, Jeremy Manning.

Scarlets: Barry Davies; Darren Daniel, Matthew Watkins, Gavin Evans, Mark Jones; Ceiron Thomas, Liam Davies; Phil John, Ken Owens, Craig Dunlea, Inoke Afeaki, Adam Jones, Dafydd Jones, James Bater (capt), Nathan Thomas.

Replacement used: John Davies for Dunlea (15-27 mins), Garan Evans for M Jones (52), John Davies for John (60), Paul Mackey for Gavin Evans (65), Gavin Thomas for Bater (69-80), Clive Stuart-Smith for L Davies, Daniel George for Owens (both 75). Not used: Vernon Cooper.

Sin Bin: Bater (Llanelli)
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)