Planet Rugby

Munster back at the top

08th March 2009 08:14

Share:

Munster went back to the top of the Magners League with a hard-fought 20-9 success over Dragons at a rain-sodden Rodney Parade on Saturday.

They scored the only two tries of the match and aided by some excellent kicking from Paul Warwick and some strong running from centre Lifeimi Mafi they held the spirited Dragons at bay.

It was a typical Munster performance, a strong defensive effort overcoming the loss of two men to the sin-bin in the second half - Alan Quinlan and Darragh Hurley - and scoring at vital times.

The Dragons had their chances but ultimately were guilty of poor ball retention and were devoid of attacking ideas in the difficult conditions.

Jason Tovey and Wayne Evans did make some progress with some incisive running but the tactical nous of Munster ensured their deserved win.

The Dragons were defeated 50-6 by Munster in Cork in September so against a much weakened Munster side they were hoping for much better fortunes.

The Irish were without nine of their best players including such notables as Ronan O'Gara, Paul O'Connell and Doug Howlett, whereas The Dragons were able to include prop Rhys Thomas who is set to line up for Wales next Saturday in Italy.

Munster took an early lead when the Dragons lost the ball in midfield.

Tovey did well to get back to save but he conceded a penalty which Warwick kicked.

James Arlidge brought the scores level with a simple penalty but then Munster scored the try of the game.

They spun the ball along the three-quarter line for Dennis Hurley to burst into the line and send wing Ciaran O'Boyle on a 20-metre unopposed run to the line.

Warwick converted from near the touchline and kicked a penalty to give Munster a 10-point lead after 23 minutes.

Arlidge reduced the arrears with another penalty but immediately on doing so Richard Parks was sin-binned for a deliberate offside.

Rhys Thomas was lucky not to follow him for taking out an opponent minutes later but surprisingly Warwick was unable to take advantage missing both resulting penalties, the second of which, the last kick of the first half, was a virtual sitter.

As if inspired by that let-off, the Dragons had much the better of the opening quarter of the second half.

With Parks returning and two Irishman sent to the bin, they should have capitalised.

Arlidge missed a very kickable penalty and Tom Willis was denied a try as he was forced into the corner flag.

Arlidge did reduce the arrears to 13-9 with 15 minutes to go and the Dragons appeared to have every chance of overhauling Munster, but crucially Arlidge had a clearance kick charged down.

Munster saw their opportunity and from a scrum and a drive enough space was created for replacement Anthony Horgan to dive over in the corner for the crucial try 11 minutes from the end, with Warwick notching the extras thanks to a superb touchline conversion.

The scorers:

For the Dragons:

Pens: Arlidge 3

For Munster:

Tries: O'Boyle, Horgan

Cons: Warwick 2

Pens: Warwick 2

Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Kevin Morgan, 13 Rory Sidey, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Martyn Thomas, 10 James Arlidge, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Grant Webb, 7 Richard Parks, 6 Bearman Joe, 5 Andrew Hall, 4 Sean Tomes, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Tom Willis (c), 1 Hall Nigel,

Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Gethin Robinson, 18 Lewis Evans, 19 Danny Lydiate, 20 Phillip Dollman, 21 Gareth Maule, 22 Robert Lewis.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Kieran Lewis, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ciaran O'Boyle, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Denis Leamy, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Mick O'Driscoll (c), 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Darragh Hurley.

Replacements: 16 Michael Essex, 17 Timmy Ryan, 18 Billy Holland, 19 Niall Ronan, 20 Duncan Williams, 21 Jeremy Manning, 22 Anthony Horgan.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

Touch judges: Gwyn Morris (Wales), David Jones (Wales)

Television match official: Tony Rowlands (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Preview
Waratahs vs BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Preview
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954