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Munster power to six-try victory over Scarlets

MATCH REPORT: Clinical Munster ensured Scarlets’ poor run against Irish provinces continued as they suffered a ninth consecutive defeat in going down 42-7 in Llanelli.

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Scarlets have not won against Irish opposition since beating Connacht 41-36 in March 2021 and they never looked like breaking that unenviable record as Munster ran out convincing bonus-point winners.

Gavin Coombes, No. 8, scored two tries for Munster with Jack O’Sullivan, Thomas Ahern, Shay McCarthy and Sean O’Brien also going over and Joey Carbery converted all six.

Joe Roberts scored Scarlets’ only try which Charlie Titcombe converted.

Dan Jones led out Scarlets on his 150th appearance for the club and his first since tearing a hamstring back in September.

His side had the better of the early exchanges but Munster were first on the scoreboard when Coombes drove over from close range.

The hosts continued to struggle in the scrum by conceding a number of penalties and this gave Munster easy attacking platforms.

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The Welsh region were then placed under considerable pressure and eventually their heroic defence caved in when Coombes powered across for his second.

Carbery again converted to give his side a deserved 14-0 interval lead.

Seven minutes after the interval, Scarlets made changes in an attempt to revive their fortunes and it paid immediate dividends when from a line-out on half-way, Roberts powered through a gap in midfield for an excellent individual try.

For the first time in the game, Scarlets briefly threatened an upset but their opponents soon upped their game. First Mike Haley was forced into touch by a cover tackle from Ioan Nicholas before Conor Murray dummied his way over from a five-metre scrum only to be denied by the TMO for an earlier obstruction.

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However, the visitors were not to be denied with replacement O’Sullivan crashing over for his side’s third to put daylight between the teams.

Any hopes of a Scarlets comeback were soon extinguished when Ahern scored their bonus-point try before late tries from O’Brien and McCarthy emphasised their superiority.

Man of the Match: The Munster number eight softened up the hosts with two close-range tries in the first half and was at the forefront of his dominant pack’s effort as Scarlets wilted in the final quarter.

Scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Coombes (2), O’Sullivan, Ahern, O’Brien, McCarthy
Cons: Carbery (6)

For Scarlets:
Try: Roberts
Con: Titcombe

Teams:

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tomi Lewis, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Eddie James, 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Archie Hughes, 8 Vaea Fifita, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Jarrod Taylor, 5 Sam Lousi (captain), 4 Alex Craig, 3 Harri O’Connor, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Kemsley Mathias.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thomas, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Jac Price, 20 Teddy Leatherbarrow, 21 Efan Jones, 22 Charlie Titcombe, 23 Steff Evans.

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Seán O’Brien, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Alex Kendellen (captain), 6 Ruadhán Quinn, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Tom Ahern, 3 Oli Jager, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Eoghan Clarke, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 John Ryan, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Jack O’Sullivan, 21 Ethan Coughlan, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Shay McCarthy.

Referee: Ian Kenny (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Tom Spurrier (Wales)
TMO: Mike Adamson (Scotland)

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