Fears over Chris Farrell's knee as injury mars Munster's thumping win over the Kings
Munster 43 Southern Kings 0
Munster cruised to a bonus-point win over Southern Kings at Irish Independent Park, but a knee injury for Chris Farrell is the biggest concern.
A week on from his Six Nations heroics against Scotland, Farrell only lasted 18 minutes, but in his absence, tries from Andrew Conway, Darren Sweetnam, Billy Holland, Rhys Marshall, Jean Kleyn and Rory Scannell secured the maximum haul for the home side.
Kleyn also picked up an injury when he stretched to score his side’s final try and Munster finished with 14 players as a result, but from an Ireland point of view it’s Farrell that’s the big concern.
“I think Chris just tweaked his knee on a carry. We already had it strapped beforehand so it is just precautionary at this stage,” said assistant coach Jerry Flannery.
Two weeks without a game meant it was no shock to see Munster start slowly, but they soon found their feet and a couple of Conway kicks gave them territorial pressure. Big carries from Holland, Niall Scannell and Farrell allowed Neil Cronin to cross from close range.
Munster continued to build their possession stats, but they were unable to add to their lead as their attack misfired and knock-ons became a regular occurrence in the slippery conditions.
Kings were guilty of poor discipline in that first half – they conceded eight penalties to Munster’s none – and flanker Stephan de Wit was sin-binned harshly for taking out Cronin at the ruck.
And two minutes later Munster took advantage when Jean Kleyn’s pass out the back freed Tyler Bleyendaal and he sent Conway over on the right. Scannell’s conversion hit the post, but Munster still led 12-0 at the interval.
Munster’s start to the second half was not perfect either as they turned to face the wind, but with Chris Cloete impressing against his former side and Mike Haley growing into the game, they still looked likeliest to score next.
And 14 minutes into the half their third try arrived. The arrival of Alby Mathewson brought some life to the Munster attack and his and Dan Goggin’s quick hands freed Conway. Conway chipped through and Mathewson looked certain to score, but after the scrum-half was taken out Darren Sweetnam gratefully accepted the try instead.
Scannell was on target with the conversion and Munster led 19-0.
Holland finished off some sustained pressure with his side’s fourth try on the hour mark before Rhys Marshall mauled over their fifth, while Kings played the last ten minutes with 13 players after two sin-binnings in the space of a minute.
Kleyn bagged his side’s sixth try nine minutes from time and appeared to pick up a hip injury while doing so. Rory Scannell charged down a clearance to score Munster’s seventh try in the final minute.
Munster – M Haley; A Conway, C Farrell (D Goggin 18), R Scannell, D Sweetnam; T Bleyendaal (JJ Hanrahan 66), N Cronin (A Mathewson 49); J Loughman (L O’Connor 49), N Scannell (R Marshall 62), J Ryan (S Archer 62); J Kleyn, B Holland (D O’Shea 62); F Wycherley, C Cloete, A Botha (G Coombes 68).
Southern Kings – M Banda (U Beyers 64); Y Penxe, M Rokoua, B Klaasen, B Basson (T Kruger 62); B Pretorius, S Ungerer (S Pretorius 56); S Ferreira (A Tshakweni 72), M Willemse (A van Rooyen 64), DJ Terblanche (P Scholtz 52); A van Schalkwyk (S Greeff 64), JC Astle (c); S de Wit (A Ntsila 36-40 blood, 64), T Burger, R Lerm.
Ref – A Piardi (FIR)