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Report | Munster A Beat Scarlets In Thriller

October 5, 2018 9:22 pm By The Editor

Liam Coombes celebrates scoring a try with Jack Stafford and Alex McHenry.

Liam Coombes celebrates scoring a try with Jack Stafford and Alex McHenry.

An outstanding display from Munster A secured a very impressive 40-29 win over a strong Scarlets A side in the Celtic Cup at Irish Independent Park on Friday night.

Jack Stafford, Liam Coombes, Ben Healy and Sean O’Connor touched down for Peter Malone’s side with captain Bill Johnston immaculate off the tee with four conversions and four penalties.

It was a less than ideal start for Scarlets as winger Morgan Williams was sin-binned in the opening minute for tackling a player in the air with Munster taking advantage immediately.

After kicking to the right corner, Munster set up for a rolling maul and clever play from Darren O’Shea saw the lock peel to the blindside and pop a pass to Stafford. The scrum-half was faced by two defenders but finished expertly to give Munster an early lead.

Johnston’s touchline conversion made it 7-0 and Munster were up and running.

A dominant Scarlets rolling maul on 10 minutes saw the visitors go over for their first try through Shaun Evans and Dan Jones added the extras to level the game at 7-7 as Williams returned to the fray.

Having gained the upper hand, Scarlets struck for a second try on 16 minutes. Munster had been defending bravely on their own line but the pressure finally told as prop Rhys Fawcett burrowed over from close range and Jones converted to move Scarlets 14-7 in front.

Munster A fought back and a straightforward Johnston penalty on 20 minutes reduced the arrears.

The hosts were back in front after 27 minutes with Coombes released by Stephen Fitzgerald down the left flank and the winger showed remarkable pace to burn clear to score. Johnston’s conversion from the left touchline was good to make it 17-all after 27 minutes.

With Calvin Nash and Matt More having departed with knocks, Munster were forced into a rejig. Replacement Ben Healy took the place of Johnston at out-half with the captain moving in to partner replacement Alex McHenry in the centres as Shane Daly went out to the wing.

Johnston initiated another excellent Munster attack as his crossfield kick set Coombes free up the left flank with the move eventually leading to another penalty opportunity for Johnston. The kick sailed through the posts and Munster led 20-17 after 32 minutes.

An excellent last-ditch tackle by Coombes on Scarlets no.8 Tom Phillips just before the break preserved the Munster lead as the hosts went into the break up by three.

A perfect start to the second half saw Healy struck after just 45 seconds. The score came after Jones’ attempted chip over the defence was blocked and out-half Healy snapped up the loose ball and raced nearly 50 metres to score. Johnston added the extra two and Munster led by 10.

Scarlets A were back in it on 47 minutes as they exploited an overlap on the right wing as Steff Evans released Morgan to score and Jones’ second conversion made it 27-24.

A third Johnston penalty after a high tackle on Shane Daly gave Munster some breathing room at 30-24.

Scarlets were in for their third try after 58 minutes as Steff Evans pounced on a kick in behind the defence but Jones was off target with the conversion and Munster led by a point as we entered the final quarter.

Steff Hughes was sin-binned for a high tackle on Healy with 63 minutes gone to give Munster a one-man advantage again and Peter Malone’s side took full advantage once more.

Jack Daly powered through a gap after taking a great line to move Munster A deep into opposition territory and a crossfield kick found O’Connor in acres of space to score Munster’s fourth try.

Johnston’s all-important conversion moved Munster 37-29 ahead and his fourth penalty after 76 minutes sealed a 40-29 victory.

Munster A

Tries: Jack Stafford, Liam Coombes, Ben Healy, Sean O’Connor

Cons: Bill Johnston (4)

Pens: Bill Johnston (4)

Scarlets A

Tries: Shaun Evans, Rhys Fawcett, Morgan Williams, Steff Evans

Cons: Dan Jones (3)

Pen: Dan Jones 

Munster A: Stephen Fitzgerald; Calvin Nash (inj Alex McHenry, 22), Shane Daly, Matt More (inj Ben Healy, 32), Liam Coombes; Bill Johnston (C), Jack Stafford (John Poland, 77); Josh Wycherley (Cronan Gleeson, 52), Diarmuid Barron (Eoghan Clarke, 60), Jeremy Loughman (Keynan Knox, 73); Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea; Sean O’Connor (Paddy Kelly, 75), Jack Daly (Dan Walsh, 71), Dave O’Callaghan.

Scarlets A: Clayton Blommetjies; Morgan Williams, Corey Baldwin, Steff Hughes (C), Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Kieran Hardy; Rhys Fawcett, Dafydd Hughes, Berian Watkins; Josh Helps, Chris Long; Stuart Worrell, Shaun Evans, Tom Phillips.

Replacements: Torin Myhill, Kemsley Mathias, Morgan Jones, Joe Miles, Declan Smith, Osian Knott, Ryan Conbeer.