Dragons 23 Munster 17
MUNSTER remain winless this season as they slipped to their first defeat to the Dragons in seven years.
Graham Rowntree was understandably furious with his players after a lacklustre performance full of unforced errors, and ill-discipline. They were severely punished for their lack of discipline by former Munster out-half JJ Hanrahan who kicked 18 points for the home side.
Munster lost the contact area and were blown away at the breakdown by a strong Dragons pack and also lost Keith Earls and Jean Kleyn to injury early on. And Rowntree slammed his players who he claims fell below the standards expected of Munster.
“I told the lads I’m not happy with our discipline, inaccuracy, the way we were forcing things and our error count,” said Rowntree.
“I can’t have this. I can’t dress it up any better than that.
“I was surprised about our inaccuracy particularly going into their 22, and our ability to keep the ball in that key area. That really shocked me I’ll be honest with you.
“Whoever you play you are going to have a challenge particularly when you play away from home regardless of what’s happened in the Dragons camp this week. I expected better in terms of the stuff we can do better.
“It was just so poor. We had eight turnovers in the first half and were ill-disciplined.
“We lost lineouts, knocked on and we never got a foothold in the game”
Ben Healy opened the scoring for Munster, but they found themselves 15-3 down after half an hour thanks to Hanrahan’s boot. The Dragons were making significant inroads with their ball carriers as the likes of Wales internationals Ross Moriarty and Will Rowlands making dents in the Munster defence.
But Munster hit straight back with Healy’s break setting Simon Zebo clear. Zebo raced towards the line but was tackled high by Rio Dyer who was sent to the sin bin as a result. Craig Casey opted to take the penalty quickly, and it paid off with Stephen Archer powering over for a try.
Healy added the extras and Munster were soon celebrating their second try when Casey took advantage of their maul dominance with a pop pass to put Healy over for another score. Healy converted to send Munster into the changing rooms holding on to a 17-15 lead.
The Welsh club finally turned pressure into points with a stunning individual try from Dyer who broke through the Munster defence before showing tremendous pace to run in unopposed from 45 metres out.
Munster tried desperately to somehow salvage this game but were turned over deep in the Dragons 22. But instead of clearing their lines the Dragons attacked from deep with Dyer skinning the Munster defence before finding Max Clarke. The centre was stopped in his tracks, but Munster paid the price when Jack O’Donoghue got yellow carded for killing the ball at the breakdown.
And Hanrahan sealed Munster’s fate with a late penalty.
Dragons: A O’Brien 8; R Dyer 8, S Tomkinson 7 (M Clarke 69, 6), J Dixon 7, A Hewitt 6; JJ Hanrahan 9, R Williams 7; A Seiul 7i (R Evans 58, 5), B Roberts 8 (E Dee 58, 6), L Fairbrother 7 (C Coleman 53, 6), G Nott 8 (B Carter 53, 7), W Rowlands 9 , S Lonsdale 8 (A Wainwright 62, 6), T Basham 7, R Moriarty 8.
Replacements not used: L Jones, J Williams.
Munster: M Haley 4; K Earls 5 (L Coombes 13, 6), D Goggin 6, M Fekitoa 6, S Zebo 6; B Healy 8 (J Carbery 58, 6), C Casey 7 (P Patterson 60, 6); D Kilcoyne 5 (L O’Connor 58, 5), N Scannell 5, S Archer 5 (K Knox 58, 5), J Kleyn 5 (T Beirne 13, 5), F Wycherley 5 (E Edogbo 58, 6), J O’Donoghue 4, P O’Mahony 5, J O’Sullivan 4.
Replacements: S Buckley,