Munster ‘A’ suffered a 38-17 loss in the B&I Cup quarter final this afternoon following a physical and controlled performance from Doncaster Knights that saw them run in 5 tries at Castle Park.
First blood of this encounter went to Munster after the hosts were penalised for holding on. Following a kick to touch from Rory Scannell, the hosts again infringed, this time at the breakdown and Scannell opted to kick for 3 getting Munster off the mark on 3 minutes.
Looking to quell any Munster momentum, Knights soon got a foothold in the game. Off their first penalty they appeared to have crossed the whitewash, only for the referee and fourth official to adjudge the final pass had been knocked on – disallowing the try.
However Knights, feeling aggrieved, would push Munster off their own ball in the subsequent scrum and win another penalty, opting for the corner again.
No knock on this time as they used the line out maul to great effect – Michael Hills touching down for the opening try of the game and Dougie Flockhart adding the extras to make it 7-3 on 15 minutes.
In terms of set-piece, Doncaster held the upper hand throughout the opening 40, at scum time in particular as Munster coughed up numerous penalties.
Once such penalty brought the Championship outfit back into Munster's 22. Working from a line out and with a penalty advantage, they brought the ball infield before Bruno Bravo spotted and exploited the half gap close to the ruck and crossed for Knights' second try. The added conversion made it 14-3 on 28 minutes.
Worse was to come when Munster went offside at ruck-time. Keeping faith with his dominant pack, Flockhart opted for touch from where the forwards did the rest with Hills touching down for his second.
Flockhart maintained his 100% kicking record with the conversion and Doncaster led 21-3 at the break.
With so much to do, Munster needed to strike first in the second 40. However, Knights emerged from the dressing room with the same opening half intensity and without a hint of complacency.
Another scrum penalty saw Flockhart extend their lead to 24-3 just before one of Munster's key men, Donncha O'Callghan, saw 10 in the bin.
Minutes later, following a line out infringement from Munster, The Englishmen began to turn the screw. From a line out they marched the visiting defence 22 metres backwards and Latu Makaafi touched down for a textbook catch and drive try.
31-3 down, it was Munster who would strike next, going wide off a line out and Rory Scannell finding a gap in midfield to touch down and convert the province's opening try on 57 minutes.
Comeback on possibly? Unfortunately not as Doncaster soon found their way back into Munster’s 22 – winding down the clock while also wearing down the travelling defence with a barrage of attacks.
A couple of uncharacteristic errors saw them award possession to Munster but that was soon forgiven after they touched down for their fifth try – creating a 2 on 1 from the back of a scrum for Flockhart to touch down and convert.
Maintaining that never-say-die attitude throughout, Mick O'Driscoll's charges would at least have the final say and go down fighting when a thundering run from Dan Goggin saw him cross for Munster's second try.
Scannell's conversion was to be Munster 'A's final action of the current B&I Cup campaign.
Doncaster Knights just too strong on the day and running out deserving 38-17 winners.