Munster squeeze past Dragons

Date published: September 17 2016

Munster returned to the victory trail when they secured a hard-fought 20-16 triumph over the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday.

In a tight first half, the Irish province moved into a 10-3 lead via Jean Kleyn's try and five points from the boot of Tyler Bleyendaal, but the Dragons were level by the interval. Hallam Amos went over and Angus O'Brien added to his earlier penalty by kicking the conversion to make the score 10-10 at the break. 

Two further O'Brien three-pointers to Bleyendaal's one gave the Dragons a 16-13 advantage in the final 40 minutes, but a late Cian Bohane try secured Rassie Erasmus' men their second win of the campaign. 

Despite a positive start to the campaign, where they emerged with a 23-13 victory over the Scarlets, the Limerick-based outfit were left reeling a week later following a one-point home defeat to Cardiff Blues. Determined to erase memories of that loss, the visitors started brightly at Rodney Parade and moved 3-0 ahead via the boot of Bleyendaal.

O'Brien responded with one of his own for the hosts, but the Irish province were looking dangerous with ball in hand and strung together an excellent attack. After several phases the Dragons' rearguard eventually yielded to lock Kleyn, who spotted a gap and surged over the line. 

However, they were perhaps guilty of overplaying and Dragons poacher Amos expertly read a stray Munster pass to intercept and sprint across the whitewash. 

The respective fly-halves then traded penalties at the start of the second period before O'Brien took the Welsh region into the lead with another off the tee. 

But the visitors always had that extra sprinkling of quality behind the scrum and it was no surprise to see them open up the home team's defence once more. 

They found some space down the right-hand side as Darren Sweetnam was set free. Although the wing bizarrely dropped the ball while over the line, it went backwards and Bohane was on hand to touch it down for the winning score.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Con: O'Brien
Pens: O'Brien 3

For Munster:
Kleyn, Bohane
Cons: Bleyendaal 2
Pen: Bleyendaal 2

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Lewis Evans (c), 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Rhys Buckley, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Darran Harris, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Cory Hill, 20 James Thomas, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Adam Warren

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Ronan O'Mahony, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jack O'Donoghue, 6 Billy Holland (c), 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Brian Scott, 19 Dave O'Callaghan, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Colm O'Shea

Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Claudio Blessano (Italy), Rob Price (Wales)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)