Munster consolidated their lead in the Magners League with a bonus-point 38-17 win over Dragons at Musgrave Park on Saturday.
Doug Howlett scored two tries as Munster consolidated their lead in the Magners League with a 38-17 win over Dragons at Musgrave Park on Saturday.
Munster kept up their charge towards a home play-off semi-final place with a convincing victory.
Inspired by Stade FranÃ§ais-bound Paul Warwick, who kicked 13 points and controlled the game superbly from centre, this bonus-point win now moves the Irish side nine clear of their closer challengers.
The result virtually ends the Dragons play-off ambitions who went into the game on a five match unbeaten run.
In a fairly equal opening, Paul Warwick and fly-half Jason Tovey exchanged penalties, before Munster's centre booted over another to give his side the lead.
Newport once again hit back when Tovey stroked over his second three pointer to level matters within the first 15 minutes.
Midway through the first period and the Welsh side took the lead for the first time through the boot of their fly-half.
However, Munster was the team to break the try-scoring drought when wonderful hands by flanker James Coughlan sent former All Black winger Doug Howlett over, Warwick brilliantly converting from out wide.
With the final move of the half Howlett scored his second try, outpacing the Newport defence.
Immediately after the break, the Dragons hit back through hooker Steve Jones, but their scrum travails occurred once again as Warwick kicked another penalty.
On 50 minutes, the hosts looked to have put the game beyond the away teams reach when lock Mick O'Driscoll powered over.
Tovey responded with three more points, but Munster confirmed the bonus-point when Johne Murphy crossed and added further gloss to the scoreline through back-row Alan Quinlan's try.
Tries: Howlett 2, O'Driscoll, Murphy, Quinlan
Cons: Warwick 2
Pens: Warwick 3
Try: S. Jones
Pens: Tovey 4
Munster: 15 Johne Murphy, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Paul Warwick, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Declan Cusack, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 James Coughlan, 6 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll (c), 4 Ian Nagle, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Alan Quinlan, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Sam Tuitupou, 23 Danny Barnes
Dragons: 15 Will Harries, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Pat Leach, 11 Matthew Pewtner, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Toby Faletau, 6 Andrew Coombs, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Scott Morgan, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Steve Jones (c), 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements:16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Pat Palmer, 18 Phil Price, 19 Adam Jones, 20 Lewis Evans, 21 Ashley Smith, 22 Jon Evans, 23 Matthew Jones.
Venue: Musgrave Park
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant referees: David Keane (Ireland), Eanna O'Dowd (Ireland)
TMO: Brian Fitzgerald (Ireland)