Match report: Munster shut out Scarlets
April 14, 2007
Munster gained revenge for their recent Heineken Cup exit as they kept Scarlets scoreless in a low-key Magners League encounter at Musgrave Park.
With their gaze firmly on next weekend's European semi-final against Leinster, Llanelli travelled without most of their front-line players and head coach Phil Davies also chose to sit out the trip to Cork.
Munster, however, were on a mission despite not having any silverware within their sights.
Never in their professional rugby history have they lost three home matches in a row and the province proudly kept that record intact tonight, following recent losses to Leicester and Cardiff.
Tries from Marcus Horan, Barry Murphy and Anthony Foley got Declan Kidney's side back to winning ways and edged them closer to seventh-placed Edinburgh in the league standings.
Llanelli, who included only four players from the side that thrashed the Borders last week, were immediately on the back foot and prop Horan launched himself over a close-range ruck to notch Munster's opener in the fourth-minute.
Ronan O'Gara missed the conversion but the Scarlets, with so many changes,struggled to gain a foothold in the game and it was Munster who always looked the more potent.
Opting to keep the ball in hand rather than kick for the corners, the hosts stuck to their game-plan, but as the half wore on they were struggling to convert their dominance into points.
Scarlets scrum-half Liam Davies caught the eye behind the scrum, although his outside backs were well shackled throughout.
An O'Gara penalty from in front of the posts handed Munster their 8-0 buffer for the break, and the half closed with the visitors down to 14 men - Scarlets skipper James Bater saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Mossy Lawlor.
Encouragingly for coach Kidney, Munster were sharply out of the blocks for the second period and they made their numerical advantage pay when a neat chip through from O'Gara was gathered by Brian Carney, and he showed excellent hands when challenged by two players to offload for centre Murphy to slice over for the second try.
Munster continued to press for tries with man of the match Lifeimi Mafi the liveliest of the home backs.
Foley then plunged over from a forward drive, just past the hour mark, to confirm the Scarlets' first defeat in five matches.
Munster (8) 20
Scarlets (0) 0
Munster: Lawlor, Carney, Murphy, Mafi, Horgan, O'Gara, O'Leary, Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Driscoll, D. Ryan, O'Sullivan, Foley.
Replacements: Fogarty, Pucciariello, Wyatt, Coughlan, O'Meara, Manning, Kelly.
Llanelli Scarlets: B. Davies, Daniel, Watkins, G. Evans, M. Jones, C. Thomas, L. Davies, John, Owen, Dunlea, Afeaki, A. Jones, D. Jones, Bater, N. Thomas.
Replacements: J. Davies, George, Cooper, G. Thomas, Stuart-Smith, Mackey, G. Evans.
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland).
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September