Planet Rugby

Munster hammer the Dragons

14th September 2008 19:52

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Red Hot: Doug Howlett dotted down two late tries

Munster made it two Magners League wins out of two by recording an emphatic 50-6 victory over the Dragons at Musgrave Park on Sunday, running seven tries past the limp visitors.

The European champions ran seven tries past the Dragons when the sides met in Cork last November and they repeated that feat tonight, with Keith Earls stealing the show with a hat-trick of tries.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney must have been licking his lips as he watched the 20-year-old run rings around the visitors' defence, just 48 hours after another young Irish rugby talent - Luke Fitzgerald - scored a hat-trick for Leinster.

Beaten in their first two Magners League outings, the Dragons travelled low on confidence, particularly as they had lost on their previous 16 trips to Ireland.

James Arlidge, who slotted in at full-back with Shaun Connor at number 10, managed to kick the Welsh region into a fourth-minute lead.

But that was as good as it really got for Paul Turner's men. Two minutes later, incisive running from David Wallace and Ian Dowling helped Earls convert a left wing overlap for his first try.

Paul Warwick converted and though the Dragons had some decent territory, they lacked the guile required to prise open the Munster defence.

A real contender for try of the season followed in the 20th minute when Warwick flung a crossfield kick out to Dowling.

The ball was beautifully spun through the hands of Barry Murphy, Earls, Lifeimi Mafi and Mick O'Driscoll before Warwick cantered in under the posts for a seven-pointer.

Earls made sure he grabbed the headlines with a stunning individual try, four minutes later.

Showing supreme confidence, he dummied a pass to Dowling, kicked forward on the left wing and scooped it up on the bounce with his right foot before gleefully touching down.

Trailing 19-3 at half-time, the Dragons' best moves were being spoiled by knock-ons but Arlidge did keep them in the game with a 46th-minute penalty.

However, the hosts then chalked up their bonus point score as Earls speared through a gap on the left and had the gas to make the line.

Adam Jones was thwarted after the Dragons had set up a five-metre line-out and with both Frankie Sheahan and Gethin Robinson sin-binned for separate incidents, the game lulled.

A Warwick penalty goal roused Munster back to life and the Munster fly-half was soon over the whitewash again after a storming intercept run by John O'Sullivan.

The demolition job was completed by a late Doug Howlett brace.

A powerful hand-off of Richard Fussell helped Howlett scoot under the posts and he raced over in the right corner, at the death, with Warwick's conversion taking his personal tally to 25 points.

The scorers:

For Munster:

Tries: Earls 3, Warwick 2, Howlett 2

Cons: Warwick 6

Pen: Warwick

For Dragons:

Pens: Arlidge 2

The teams:

Munster: 15 Keith Earls, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Barry Murphy, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 David Wallace, 7 John O'Sullivan, 6 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll (c), 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Frederico Pucciariello, 2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Tony Buckley.

Replacements: 16 Marcus Horan, 17 Jerry Flannery, 18 Paul O'Connell, 19 Justin Melck, 20 Peter Stringer, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Denis Hurley.

Dragons: 15 James Arlidge, 14 Rory Sidey, 13 Rhodri Gomer Davies, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Tal Selley, 10 Shaun Connor, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Grant Webb, 7 Jamie Ringer, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Tom Willis (c), 1 Hugh Gustafson.

Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Adam Black, 18 Gethin Robinson, 19 Adam Brown, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Richard Fussell, 22 Rob Lewis.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Assistant Referees: D Keane (Ireland) J Carvill (Ireland)

Television Match Official: J Sheehan (Ireland)

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