Planet Rugby

Munster finish with a win

06th May 2011 21:21

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Doug Howlett Munster 2011

Late try: Doug Howlett

Munster completed their fine regular-season by securing a comfortable 22-6 victory that sets them up nicely for a play-off against the ailing Ospreys.

Wings Simon Zebo and Doug Howlett scored tries either side of Alan Quinlan's touchdown, while fly-half Ronan O'Gara kicked 12 points.

Fly-half Ian Keatley responded for Connacht with two penalties of his own but the hosts eased to yet another victory, despite lock Paul O'Connell's late sin-binning.

Munster were looking to banish the memories of last week's shock Amlin Challenge Cup defeat against Harlequins and a game with Ireland's minnows looked to provide the perfect tonic.

On paper, the hosts have a far superior side and they duly took advantage in the early stages when Zebo scampered over. The usually reliable O'Gara was unable to convert before Keatley missed the chance to reduce the deficit for the visitors when his penalty attempt went wide.

But the crowd had to wait 10 minutes until half-time before the next score when the Connacht's stand-off scored a penalty. Keatley then added another soon after to give his side the lead.

However, Munster reasserted their authority when Quinlan touched down, O'Gara this time managing to add the extras.

The second half started as the first had ended with the hosts on top and O'Gara took their advantage out to nine points when he kicked a penalty.

And with five minutes to go, Howlett went over with the influential Munster stand-off yet again adding the conversion to confirm their dominance and set up a meeting with the Ospreys.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Zebo, Quinlan, Howlett
Con: O'Gara 2
Pen: O'Gara

For Connacht:
Pen: Keatley 2

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Johne Murphy, 12 Danny Barnes, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Paul O'Connell (capt), 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Sean Archer, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Denis Hurley.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Miah Nikora, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Johnny O'Connor (capt), 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Dylan Rogers, 19 Dave Nolan, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Troy Nathan, 22 Tiernan O'Halloran.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), John Carvill (Ireland)
Television match official: Brian Fitzgerald (Ireland)

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