Munster secure Champions Cup place

Date published: May 7 2016

Munster ensured they will be playing Champions Cup rugby next season thanks to a 31-15 win over the Scarlets.

Scarlets too had aspirations of their own in keeping a play-off spot alive, but fell short.

Eight minutes in, Steven Shingler kicked the first points of the game to give Scarlets a three-point lead. But after an attack from the Welsh side broke down, a speedy turnover saw Munster break and cross the line.

A dink over the top bounced perfectly into the arms of Keith Earls, who fed the ball into Francis Saili to give Munster a timely lead. Johnny Holland added the extra two.

The visitors couldn't catch a break and had a try ruled out two minutes after Sailli went over, before a Munster academy product went over for the second try. A lineout spelt trouble for the Scarlets backline and Rory Scannell crossed the line to put further pressure on the visitors, who were desperate for final day victory. Holland converted again to take the score to 14-6.

Shingler kept the clock ticking for Scarlets though and his three penalties before the break proved crucial to reduce the deficit back down to just a couple of points.

The hosts continued to be on top in the second half but couldn't quite shrug away the narrow lead they had built up.

But after the lead was cut to two, Ronan O'Mahony aided the cause with a third try. Scannell's pass began the move, with the spell ending in a Holland kick flashing just wide of the posts.

The trusty Shingler kept the visitors ticking away though and his kick again cut the gap back down ahead of an enthralling finale.

But just as it looked like Scarlets could finally turn the screw, CJ Stander grabbed the fourth decisive try.

Munster formed a maul and worked their way towards the line, with Stander crashing over. Even though the TMO took a look, it was given and Munster did all they could in search of a Champions Cup spot.

The final try for Munster finished the game off, coming from Scannell again.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Saili, Scannell 2, O'Mahony, Stander
Cons: Holland 3

For Scarlets:
Pens: Shingler 5

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Johnny Holland, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander (c), 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Dave Foley, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Robin Copeland, 20 Jack O'Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Ronan O'Mahony

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Gareth Owen, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Hadeigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans 10 Steve Shingler 9 Aled Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Peter Edwards, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Tom Price, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Michael Tagicakibau

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)