Heineken Cup – Munster Still On Track
19th December 2005 By Munster Rugby
Tries from Mick O Driscoll, Anthony Foley and Jerry Flannery and fifteen points from the boot of Ronan O Gara helped Munster to a 30-18 over Newport-Gwent Dragons in Thomond Park
Tries from Mick O Driscoll, Anthony Foley and Jerry Flannery and fifteen points from the boot of Ronan O Gara helped Munster to a 30-18 over a determined Newport-Gwent Dragons in Thomond Park on Saturday evening. It was a victory that keeps Munster on track for a place in the quarter finals but the path ahead is a difficult one if that target is to be achieved.
They face an away game with Castres before entertaining rampant Sale at home with a minimum requirement of eight points for them to go through as possible best runners-up.
On Saturday they started brightly and were ten points up after ten minutes when O Gara added the extras to a superbly worked O Driscoll try. It was started by Marcus Horan and carried on by the excellent David Wallace who surged for the line before whipping out a long looped pass for O Driscoll to score wide on the right.
The Dragons however hadn t turned up just to make up the numbers. They scored eight points before the break and when they emerged for the second half they had Kevin Morgan and Michael Owen in their ranks.
Anthony Foley extended the Munster advantage with a cleverly worked try which O Gara converted and the significance of a Ceri Sweeney penalty in the 64th wasn t fully felt until a few minutes later.
Dragons worked their way out of their own 22 with a blindside break which saw Owen canter up the standside touchline. As the Munster defence scrambled to cover the Welsh international flung a delightful long long pass inside to Morgan who had a clear run to the line. Sweeney s conversion put the visitors in front (81-17) and the spectre of defeat loomed large.
As the Munster support held their breath, the Munster players took a deep one, worked their way downfield and forced the concession of a penalty which O Gara knocked over. Three minutes later he repeated the dose this time from just inside his own half and on 80 minutes Jerry Flannery scored his side s third try with O Gara again adding the conversion.
MUNSTER: S Payne; J Kelly, G Connolly, T Halstead, A Horgan; R O’Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes; D O’Callaghan, M O’Driscoll; D Leamy, D Wallace, A Foley (capt). Replacements: B Murphy for Halstead (72 mins). Not used: D Fogarty, F Pucciariello, T Hogan, S Keogh, T O’Leary, J Manning. Sinbinned: Horan (75 mins).
DRAGONS: A Thomas; G Chapman, H Luscombe, J Bryant, R Fussell; C Sweeney, G Baber; A Black, S Jones, G Robinson; I Gough, L Charteris; R Oakley, J Ringer, R Bryan (capt). Replacements: M Owen for Bryan, K Morgan for Thomas (both half-time), R Thomas for Robinson (54 mins), G Cooper for Baber (60 mins), D Maddocks for Black, P Sidoli for Gough (both 63 mins). Not used: C Warlow. Sinbinned: Jones (75 mins).
Referee: Chris White (England).