Planet Rugby

Howlett slips into gear for Munster

28th March 2008 21:48

Share:

Doug Howlett scored for the second time in six days as Munster overcame stubborn resistance from Connacht to take the Magners League points with a 16-5 win at the Sportsground on Friday.

Three minutes from time, the All Black winger intercepted a pass from Connacht fly-half Andy Dunne to race over for the clinching try and push Munster up to second in the Magners League table.

Belying their position at the foot of the table, Connacht scrapped well but fell away in the final quarter with Munster able to introduce the likes of Paul O'Connell, Marcus Horan and Ronan O'Gara as substitutes.

Munster sprung a surprise by drafting Ireland flanker Denis Leamy in at inside centre and leaving Rua Tipoki, who is recovering from a back injury, on the bench ahead of next weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Gloucester.

Leamy played a couple of times previously for the province at number 12 but he was used mostly as a decoy runner during a rain-hit first half.

Connacht, who had Conor McPhillips in at scrum-half for hip-injury victim Conor O'Loughlin, fell behind in the seventh minute when Paul Warwick knocked over a simple penalty.

Munster were much the sharper in the early exchanges, with David Wallace, Peter Stringer and Alan Quinlan particularly prominent.

Dunne did little for the Connacht cause when he let a drop-goal attempt screw off the outside of his right boot and the visitors got within sight of the try line minutes later.

Having made a neat break, Denis Hurley took the wrong option when passing inside in the 18th minute, with Howlett supporting him out wide.

A grubber kick from Warwick, with the Connacht defence caught flat, then had Howlett licking his lips for a try but the action was pulled back after the ball had nicked off referee Simon McDowell.

However, after Warwick watched his second penalty attempt bounce back off a post, Connacht really put their stamp on the game. Munster's play dipped before the interval and the hosts took full advantage.

After a quick turnover, some excellent continuity involving Johnny O'Connor and McPhillips led to Keith Matthews barging past Donncha O'Callaghan and the pacy Daniel Riordan pounced to score in the corner.

Dunne's missed conversion left the Westerners 5-3 ahead at half-time but Munster reasserted themselves with a successful Warwick penalty two minutes into the second half.

Dunne crept a penalty to the left of the uprights and that looked a crucial moment, particularly as a Lifeimi Mafi bust through the middle almost had Munster over for a try.

O'Gara kicked Munster into a 9-5 lead on the hour mark and Connacht botched a chance at claiming a much-needed second try.

The Westerners' pack rumbled up close to the whitewash after Gavin Duffy had kicked a penalty to touch. Yet Connacht's lack of patience and some streetwise play from Quinlan and company saw Munster hold out.

They made the game safe when Howlett hared onto Dunne's pass to score his second try in red, and with O'Gara converting, Connacht's wait for their first win over Munster since November 1986 goes on.

The scorers:

For Connacht:

Try: Riordan

For Munster:

Try: Howlett

Con: O'Gara

Pens: Warwick 2, O'Gara

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Matt Mostyn, 13 Mel Deane, 12 Keith Matthews, 11 D Riordan, 10 Andy Dunne, 9 Conar O'Loughlin, 8 Colm Rigney, 7 Jonny O'Connor, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Andrew Farley (C), 4 David Gannon, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Andrew Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.

Replacements: 16 John Fogarty, 17 Brian McGovern, 18 Andrew Browne, 19 Liam Casserly, 20 Connor McPhillips, 21 Troy Nathan, 22 Darren Yapp.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Denis Leamy, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Anthony Foley, 7 David Wallace, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Jerry Flannery, 1 Tony Buckley.

Replacements: 16 Frank Sheahan, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 Paul O'Connell, 19 Mick O'Driscoll, 20 Tomas O'Leary, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Rua Tipoki.

Referee: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Touch judges: Colin Stanley (Ireland), Eanna O'Dowd (Ireland)

Television match official: Michael Black (Ireland)

Assessor: Brian Stirling (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00