Munster secured victory in the first of two home pre-season games defeating Bristol 24-9 in Musgrave Park this evening.
Second half tries from Dave Kilcoyne, Duncan Williams and Sean Scanlon sealed the win for Munster after a strong second half performance.
Three penalties from Bristol out half Adrian Jarvis gave the visitors a nine points to three lead after a first half littered with handling errors as both sides struggled in the conditions with Ian Keatley providing the only response for Munster with a long range penalty.
Munster introduced B.J Botha and Dave O’Callaghan at the break and started the second half on the front foot and were helped by an early sin binning for Bristol.
The yellow card came when winger Luke O’Dea broke a tackle on the right wing and chipped through and when David McIlwaine illegally halted his progress the referee had no hesitation in producing the card.
From the resulting penalty Munster kicked to the corner and after a successful line out, they mauled over the line with Dave Kilcoyne emerging from the pile of bodies having scored the game’s first try. Keatley’s successful conversion gave Munster a 10-9 lead.
Munster were beginning to show their class now and were spending a lot of time in the Bristol half. The pressure told in the 54th minute when Duncan Williams went in under the posts for try number two after Dave O’Callaghan was stopped just short of the line with the ball falling invitingly to the scrum half to touch down. Keatley was again successful from the conversion and the lead was stretched to 17-9.
It was Williams’ last act as he was replaced by Peter Stringer who got a great ovation from the home support.
Bristol nearly replied with a try of their own just before the hour in what was a rare foray into the Munster half in the second period but a big tackle by Casey Laulala halted any progress.
Munster re-jigged on the hour when Johne Murphy, Barry O’Mahony, Sean Scanlon and Scott Deasy came in for Doug Howlett, Sean Dougall, Luke O’Dea and Ian Keatley with Scanlon taking Denis Hurley’s place at full-back and Hurley switching to right wing.
The change nearly paid immediate dividends when Hurley broke through on the right hand side but he scuffed his kick through and the chance was gone.
The victory was rounded off in the 76th minute when Johne Murphy made a line break before popping the ball to Scanlon to go in under the posts with Scott Deasy slotting the conversion to give Munster the victory by 24 points to 9.
Munster: D Hurley; D Howlett capt (S Scanlon 61 min), C Laulala, J Downey (D Barnes 51 min), L O’Dea (J Murphy 61); I Keatley (S Deasy 61 min), D Williams (P Stringer 55 min); D Kilcoyne (W du Preez 51 min) (M Horan 70 min), D Varley (S Henry 47 min) (D casey 71 min), S Archer (BJ Botha ht); B Holland (P Donnellan 66 min), D Foley (B Hayes 47min); T O’Donnell, S Dougall (B O’Mahony 61 min), P Butler (Dave O’Callaghan ht).
Bristol Rugby: Jon Goodridge; Ryan Edwards, Bryan Rennie, Luke Eves, George Watkins (David McIlwaine); Adrian Jarvis, James Grindal; Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Wayne Thompson; Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson; Iain Grieve capt, Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie. Replacements: Will Davis, Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas, Roy Winter, Tom Slater, Jack Gadd, Marco Mama, Tristan Roberts, James Merriman.
Referee Dudley Phillips