Munster battle past Scarlets

Date published: October 10 2014

JJ Hanrahan was on song with the boot to give Munster a 17-6 victory at Thomond Park over their Welsh visitors the Scarlets.

JJ Hanrahan was on song with the boot to give Munster a 17-6 victory at Thomond Park over their Welsh visitors the Scarlets.

Andrew Smith scored a first-half try and Hanrahan dispatched four penalties to give Munster the win over Scarlets – who were poor and disjointed throughout.

Munster’s pack dominated the play for Anthony Foley and his men, and back row CJ Stander was awarded Man of the Match after a fine display.

Rhys Priestland opened the scoring early on for the Scarlets, when his speculative drop goal edged over, with referee Claudio Blessano consulting his TMO to confirm the three points.

Hanrahan had a chance to reply from the tee soon after, but dragged his penalty wide to the left.

Peter O’Mahony was looking eager on his first start of the season, with himself and Dave Foley launching themselves into contact.

Hanrahan levelled the game after 21 minutes, kicking a penalty when the Scarlets failed to roll away.

The home side were in complete control and had all of the ball in Scarlets’ 22, with Conor Murray pulling the strings throughout and moments later Munster put together a phase of 26 passes before the ball came to Smith to finish off in the corner with an outstanding try.

It was Murray’s pass that gave Hanrahan the opportunity to release Smith in the corner.

Priestland was having issues with his goal-kicking, missing two chances – one of which hit the post – before he was on target from 40 metres out just before half time.

Hanrahan slotted three penalties for Munster in a scrappy, error-strewn third quarter, before making way for Ian Keatley.

As the game drew to a close, both teams began to make use of their replacements which slowed the pace of the game down.

However, one of the replacements, James Cronin, was denied a late try by the TMO. Seamus Flannery in the TMO box was called upon just seconds later, as Johne Murphy went close, but the full-back was shown to have spilled the ball forward as he dived for the try line.

There were no more points to be scored though and Munster closed the game out to record the victory.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Try: A.Smith
Pens: Hanrahan 4

For Scarlets:
Pen: Priestland
Drop Goal: Priestland

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Ivan Dineen, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Kevin O’Byrne, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Johne Murphy.

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Scott Williams (c), 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Rory Pitman, 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Samson Lee, 19 George Earle, 20 James Davies, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Michael Tagicakibau.

Referee: Claudio Blessano (FIR, 8th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway, Dermot Blake (both IRFU)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (IRFU)