Planet Rugby

Munster compound Dragons woe

28th September 2007 21:30

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Shaun Payne

Payne: A rock at the back for Munster

The Dragons lost their third Magners League game out of four this season on Friday as Munster came from behind to secure a 26-16 victory.

Young Dragons outside-half Aled Thomas scored nine of his team's points but he could be fighting for his place if the Welsh region secure Australian star Stephen Larkham.

Their president David Watkins revealed before the match that the region were in talks with two big names to recruit after the World Cup - and Larkham is one of them, his agent having been approached to see how much his salary would cost.

On the field, a dismal first 20 minutes, in which both sides missed a relatively easy penalty each, came to life when Munster flanker Niall Ronan chased a grubber kick to the Dragons' line only to be denied on the point of scoring by the boot of home wing Gareth Wyatt.

However, it was not long before the ball was down the other end of the field and the Dragons had the first try on the board after a sweeping movement saw scrum-half Wayne Evans, on for the injured Andy Williams after seven minutes, go through a gap at a ruck to cross for a touchdown which outside-half Aled Thomas converted.

Once they had warmed up, the Dragons began to breathe fire as Munster struggled for any possession. Two mistakes right in front of their posts were easy penalty points for Thomas, and a third just before half-time sent the Dragons 16-0 up.

But Munster had the final say of the opening half as they finally came to life and centre Kieran Lewis sent wing Ian Dowling in for an unconverted corner try.

And the Irishmen scored again to put themselves right back in the match as flanker Billy Holland drove around the side of a ruck to score from five metres.

A penalty from Munster fly-half Paul Warwick put his side 16-13 in arrears and the Irishmen were camped on the Dragons line for 10 minutes until the Welshmen finally cleared the danger.

Warwick levelled the match with 10 minutes to go with another booming penalty and his third shot at goal took the Irishmen into the lead for the first time.

And it turned into Warwick's evening as he intercepted an attempted Thomas pass on the Munster 10-metre line to race under the posts from 60 metres. The conversion was simple and the Dragons were sunk.

The Scorers:

For Dragons:

Try: Evans

Con: A.Thomas

Pens: A.Thomas 3

For Munster:

Tries: Dowling, Holland, Warwick

Con: Warwick

Pens: Warwick 3

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Gareth Wyatt, 13 Rhodri Gomer-Davies, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Andrew Williams, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Richard Parks, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris (c), 4 Andrew Hall, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Huw Gustafson.

Replacements: 16 Ben Daly, 17 Adam Black, 18 Peter Sidoli, 19 Nic Fitisemanu, 20 Jamie Ringer, 21 Gareth Maule, 22 Wayne Evans.

Munster: 15 Shaun Payne, 14 Ian Dowling, 13 Kieran Lewis, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Anthony Horgan, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Anthony Foley, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Billy Holland, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Mark Melbourne, 3 Federico Pucciariello, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Daragh Hurley.

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tim Ryan, 18 Tommy O'Donnell, 19 John Coughlan, 20 Gerry Hurley, 21 Jeremy Manning, 22 Rua Tipoki

Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport

Referee: Neil Paterson

Touch judges: Howard Hopkins, Gary Davies

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