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
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Waratahs vs BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Preview
Crusaders vs SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
South Africa 31 - 30 WalesSouth Africa vs Wales Report
New Zealand 36 - 13 EnglandNew Zealand vs England Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00