Munster win comes at cost for Boks
URC MATCH REPORT: Munster maintained their perfect start to the new season, as they ran in six tries on their way to a convincingly 43-13 win at Scarlets.
However, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber would not have enjoyed the match.
The only negative for Munster was South Africa lock Rudolph Snyman limping off 10 minutes after coming on as a second-half replacement.
Snyman has only just returned from a long-term injury lay-off – including knee surgery and skin grafts after the infamous Munster fire pit incident – and this latest problem has been described by Munster coach Johann van Graan as “significant”.
Munster and South Africa fans will be following the injury updates closely, over the next 48 hours, to get news on how badly the lock is faring.
“It looks like it might be significant,” Van Graan said in his post-match reaction.
“I’m not going to comment on it at this stage until he’s gone for a scan.
“Obviously, he’s a very important squad player for us in terms of what he can bring.
“Hopefully we get some good news but it’s pretty difficult to say at this stage.
“After speaking to him in the changing room, you know, pretty worried about it.”
* (Match report below …)
🗣 Johann van Graan on RG’s leg injury:
“We are pretty worried about it.
“He’ll need to go for a scan & we’ll see what’s ahead of him then.ADVERTISEMENT
“We’ll all rally around him and make sure he’s well looked after.”#SCAvMUN
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) October 10, 2021
The Irish province lacked most of their first-choice players but they still possessed too much firepower for a disappointing full-strength Scarlets, who capitulated after the interval.
Liam Coombes scored two tries for Munster, with Jack O’Sullivan, Chris Cloete, Calvin Nash and Jeremy Loughman also crossing and Ben Healy added five conversions and a penalty.
Johnny McNicholl scored Scarlets’ try with Sam Costelow kicking two penalties and a conversion.
Munster took a third-minute lead with a try from number eight O’Sullivan. An excellent kick from Healy secured his side a platform in the home 22 from where O’Sullivan ran a clever line before taking Neil Cronin’s pass and evading Ken Owens’ tackle to score.
Costelow squandered a chance to put Scarlets on the scoreboard by missing a 30-metre kick before Healy extended Munster’s lead with a straightforward penalty.
The home side looked to have responded in style when Steff Evans finished off a flowing three-quarter move but TMO replays showed an earlier knock-on from Scarlets.
However, they did get their first points from a Costelow penalty but the hosts still trailed 7-3 at the end of the first quarter despite having the advantage of a keen breeze.
Munster added to Scarlets’ problems by scoring an excellent second try when Calvin Nash powered past a week tackle from Steff Evans to provide Coombes with an easy run-in.
Scarlets suffered another blow when centre Scott Williams departed with an injury to be replaced by Johnny Williams.
The hosts looked in trouble but they responded with their first try when a kick bounced favourably for Costelow to collect. The fly-half then kicked ahead for McNicholl to easily win the race to touchdown.
Costelow converted and added a penalty but just before the interval, Nash raced over to give the Irish a 22-13 half-time lead.
Four minutes after the restart, Munster scored their bonus-point try when Loughman forced his way over from close range.
Scarlets rang the changes but it made no difference as Coombes scored his second and Cloete Munster’s sixth as the home defence became ever more porous to complete an embarrassing afternoon for Scarlets.
Player of the match
Munster flanker Cloete was at the heart of a dominant performance from his pack with his tackling and work at the breakdown ensuring Scarlets never got going in attack. He also provided a valuable link between backs and forwards and his efforts were rewarded with his side’s final try.
Play of the match
From a set-piece on half-way a long pass from Ben Healy gave Calvin Nash his opportunity. The wing burst past his international opponent Steff Evans before Nash’s well-timed pass gave Coombes his first try. It epitomised Munster’s determination and the weakness of the home side’s defence.
Pens: Costelow 2
Tries: O’Sullivan, Coombes 2, Nash, Loughman, Cloete
Cons: Healy 5
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 Aaron Shingler, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Johnny Williams.
Munster: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Liam Coombes, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Neil Cronin, 8 Jack O’Sullivan, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Jack O’Donoghue (captain), 5 Fineen Wycherley, 4 Thomas Ahern, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Diarmuid Barron, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 John Ryan, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Alex Kendellen, 21 Paddy Patterson, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Jack Daly.
Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Simon Mills (Wales)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Sources: @URCOfficial & @Munsterrugby