|5 March 2022
|United Rugby Championship
Munster made it eight wins from eight in Thomond Park this season with a powerful performance over Dragons.
An early chance for Simon Zebo was kicked out by Jordan Williams and a penalty from the visitors side. However the three points remained unchanged for the remainder of the game as the Munster side became electrified, with everybody looking for a touch of the ball.
A lineout 10 minutes in saw a successful maul and a pick and go from Casey let him sidestep into the first try of the game. Crowley kicked a successful conversion, widening the gap. A quick restart became a pattern in the game and quick hands through the centre saw a penalty against the Dragons. A dropped ball from Chris Farrell was made up for minutes later with his big tackle against the visitors side, resulting in a turnover.
Play remained in the middle of the field but the Munster backline stayed alert in defence with a series of phases. A lineout inside the 22 saw another maul and Casey’s bullet pass to Kleyn was passed back in, leaving an easy pick for Casey to get his second try of the game.
In a back to back effort a great carry and dummy pass from Farrell resulted in an offload to captain Jack O’Donoghue. It was an easy run over the line for him following a missed Dragons tackle. Crowley hit the conversion again and the gap widened up between the two teams.
Breaks from Zebo on the restart saw Munster quickly back inside the 22 before being turned over by the Dragons side. The visitors got their first real possession since Casey’s initial try, but it was turned over with five minutes to halftime. With a minutes to go a Munster lineout saw a clean catch from Kleyn and Casey’s quick ball from Crowley to Ryan left space in the wing for Cloete to get the bonus point.
The second half saw a similar domination from the home side with some long passes from Casey out to O’Donoghue resulting in a midfield scrum. A kick saw Dragons in Munster’s 22 and a big tackle from Ben Fry to Gavin Coombes mounted a spur of defence from the visiting side.
However the home team backline outpaced their counterparts with Farrell, Goggin’s and Zebo all making good carries. Casey kicked the ball through, missing its intended Zebo but hitting O’Donoghue who brought the ball metres from the line.
A quick restart from Casey and another fast pass meant an imminent try from Zebo who touched down 50 minutes in. Farrell’s hard work was rewarded minutes later after a catch from Haley on the restart saw him make ground, offloading to Farrell, who got a well-deserved player of the match.
Quick hands from Crowley out to Coombes made it easy for Daly on the wing to step inside for another back to back try. As replacements were made the squad showed a real 23 man performance with some big impacts from Kendellan and Hodnett.
At the 70 minute mark a pass from Crowley saw a chance again for Daly who was just stopped short on the line. Cloete, however, got it over after a pass on the blind from Casey.
A penalty for the Dragons resulted in a lost lineout and an easy pass from Goggins out to Hodnett to get over the line. O’ Donoghue second try of the game just two minutes later added more salt to the wound for the Dragons side. Healy added the conversions and Munster will be very happy tonight with their excellent bonus point win. For the Dragons however their unlucky season looks set to last.
|8. John Hodnett
|Thomond Park, Limerick City, County Limerick, V94 PD28, Ireland