Planet Rugby

Munster enact cold vengeance

14th April 2007 21:34

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Munster avenged their Heineken Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of the Llanelli Scarlets with a 20-0 win over the Welsh in the Magners League at Musgrave Park on Saturday.

With their gaze firmly on next weekend's European semi-final against Leicester, 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 Mossy 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 he 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.

The Scorers:

For Munster:

Tries: Horan, Murphy, Foley

Con: O'Gara

Pen: O'Gara

Yellow cards: Bater (39, Scarlets, professional foul)

The teams:

Munster: 15 Mossy Lawlor, 14 Brain Carney, 13 Barry Murphy, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Anthony Horgan, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Anthony Foley (c), 7 John O'Sullivan, 6 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Frank Sheahan, 1 Marcus Horan

Replacements: 16 Denis Fogarty, 17 Federico Pucciariello, 18 Chris Wyatt, 19 James Coughlan, 20 Brian O'Meara, 21 Jeremy Manning, 22 John Kelly

Scarlets:15 Barry Davies, 14 Darren Daniel, 13 Matthew Watkins, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Mark Jones, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Liam Davies, 8 Nathan Thomas, 7 James Bater (c), 6 Dafydd Jones, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Inoke Afeaki, 3 Craig Dunlea, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John

Replacments: John Davies, Daniel George, Vernon Cooper, Gavin Thomas, Clive Stuart-Smith, Paul Mackey, Garan Evans

Kick-off: 19:30 (18:30 GMT)

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)

Touch judges: A Rogan (Ireland), E O'Dowd (Ireland)

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