Planet Rugby

Munster snuff out limp Dragons

24th November 2007 21:46

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Declan Kidney Munster coach

Successful Operation: Declan Kidney's side picked up a handy bonus-point win

With the Dragons stripped of their Wales stars, Munster coasted to an emphatic 45-19 victory over the Welsh region at Musgrave Park on Saturday.

And so the beleaguered Dragons leaked 45 points for the second weekend as ran in seven tries for a comfortable win with backs Peter Stringer, Kieran Lewis, Brian Carney and Rua Tipoki each touching down, while forward trio Donnacha Ryan, Federico Pucciariello and Frankie Sheahan also getting their names on the scoresheet to move the Irish giants to third in the Magners League table.

Badly beaten by London Irish last time out and winless on their last 13 visits to Ireland, the Dragons kept in the game thanks to first half tries from full-back Martyn Thomas and winger Richard Mustoe, but Jamie Ringer's 57th-minute effort proved little more than a consolation score.

Most of the damage was done in the first half as Munster's set-piece dominance and slick handling saw them clinically expose the visitors' defence.

Lifeimi Mafi provided the first real excitement with a stirring 20-metre break. Martyn Thomas grounded him with a crunching tackle but Munster quickly regrouped and Stringer dived over, four minutes later, from a close-range ruck.

Television match official Olan Trevor confirmed the score allowing Paul Warwick, who missed an earlier penalty, to convert for a 7-0 lead.

The Dragons were level in the 16th minute when good hands from Michael Owen put Thomas through a gap and the full-back's excellent angled run saw him weave over from 30 metres.

But Munster really seized control when the Welsh region lost lock Adam Jones to the sin-bin midway through the half.

The hosts opted for a scrum from the resulting penalty and while Anthony Foley was stopped short, the Dragons' rearguard was caught out when young lock Ryan stretched and made the whitewash.

Warwick converted and also added the extras to Lewis's fine score. The centre's first try since his move south from Leinster began with a Tony Buckley burst forward, Denis Hurley made excellent ground with a hand-off and charging run and Lewis was up in support to power over.

Against the run of play, the men in black cut the gap to 21-12 when Mustoe scythed his way through for an opportunistic try.

He brilliantly outstripped Carney to make the left corner and give Paul Turner's men some hope.

However, Munster grabbed two late tries to take a 33-12 lead into the break. Sheahan was mauled over and Pucciariello followed up on an Alan Quinlan attack to gleefully end his try drought.

The glut continued with Ringer cancelling out Carney's touchdown, coming up to the hour mark, but the game petered out with both coaches emptying their benches.

Despite having replacement prop Marcus Horan sin-binned in injury-time for punching, Munster ended the night in style with a Warwick block teeing up Tipoki for the game's 10 and final try.

The scorers:

For Munster:

Tries: Stringer, Ryan, Lewis, Sheahan, Pucciariello, Carney, Tipoki

Cons: Warwick 5

For the Dragons:

Tries: M Thomas, Mustoe, Ringer

Cons: M Thomas 2

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Brian Carney, 13 Kieran Lewis, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Anthony Foley (capt), 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Mick O'Driscoll, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Frederico Pucciariello.

Replacements: 16 Jerry Flannery, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 Denis Leamy, 19 Donnacha O'Callaghan, 20 Gerry Hurley, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Rua Tipoki.

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Paul Emerick, 13 Rhodri Gomer Davies, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Michael Owen (c), 7 Richard Parks, 6 Jamie Ringer, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Andrew Hall, 3 Jamie Corsi, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Hugh Gustafson.

Replacements: 16 Ben Daly, 17 Adam Black, 18 Peter Sidoli, 19 Joe Bearman, 20 Kevin Morgan, 21 Phil Dollman, 22 Robert Lewis.

Referee: Rob Debney (England)

Touch judges: David Keane (Ireland), David Wilkinson (Ireland)

Television match official: Olan Trevor (Ireland)

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