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Munster Fail The Stradey Test

29th January 2005 By Munster Rugby

Munster Fail The Stradey Test

Munster s challenge for the Celtic League title suffered a severe setback on Saturday when they went down 32-17 to a fired up Llanelli Scarlets in Stradey Park.

Munster s challenge for the Celtic League title suffered a severe setback on Saturday when they went down 32-17 to a fired up Llanelli Scarlets in Stradey Park. In the end Munster hadn t even the consolation of a bonus point which was the least their efforts deserved and they now find themselves seven points adrift of leaders Neath-Swansea Ospreys. It means that with six games to go Munster now need others to do them favours if they are to overhaul the leaders.

This was a game that they really should have gotten more from but they somehow managed to conjure up a litany of mistakes that ultimately cost them dearly, four mistakes costing them four tries, two in each half. They did put together some impressive phases and perhaps with a bit more patience, some tighter control and a little luck, might have scored more tries. And the early signs were positive. After going behind to a Gareth Bowen penalty, Shaun Payne made a glorious break which was carried on by Christian Cullen who was hauled down just short of the Llanelli. Then Peter Stringer dived over for a try which Ronan O Gara converted and Munster led 7-3. However, in what was to be the pattern for the rest of the game, once Munster inched ahead they immediately handed the advantage back to the home side.

A missed tackle and Matthew Watkins was through for a try and no sooner had an O Gara penalty re-established the Munster lead before once again Munster were re-grouping behind the posts waiting for Bowen s conversion of Andy Powell s try.

Into the second half and a bit more urgency from the visitors saw the excellent Jason Holland put flanker Alan Quinlan over under the posts, Quinlan then forced to retire with a broken nose and David Wallace came on for the first time since the Castres game (away). Wallace hardly had time to break sweat before he was lined up with his team-mates again awaiting a conversion after Aisea Havili had picked up a spilled ball to scoot in unopposed.

Another Bowen penalty saw the bonus point denied and whatever chance Munster had of salvaging anything from this game disappeared when Chris Wyatt, all seventeen and a half stone of him, intercepted on his own 22 and made it to the Munster line without anyone managing to get a finger on him.

Munster. C Cullen; P Devlin, S Payne (M Lawlor), J Holland, A Horgan; R O Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes; D O Callaghan, P O Connell; A Quinlan (D Wallace), D Leamy, A Foley capt

Llanelli Scarlets: G Evans; A Havili, M J Watkins, S Finau, T Selley; G Bowen, M Phillips; P John, R McBryde, J Davies; V Cooper, C Wyatt; S Easterby capt G Thomas, A Powell.

Referee: Andy Ireland (Scotland)

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