Munster deliver seven-try win over Connacht

Munster 47

Connacht 12

Munster delivered a timely demonstration of their URC title credentials; Connacht, however, were a poor reflection of their best.

The 35-point victory was nothing short of what Munster deserved on the day, more clinical in their execution and unrelenting in their defence. Their seven-try haul, having lifted them into second place - just two of leaders Glasgow - has provided real momentum for another title bid.

Connacht, however, who looked capable of causing an upset early on, will be reeling from a poor performance that will require some serious soul-searching. With a home fixture against the DHL Stormers, followed by final fling in the RDS, their hopes of a quarter-final have diminished considerably. Their inability to score despite sufficient possession was in stark contrast to Munster’s seven try haul.

The fully-loaded hosts had led 14-7 at the break - a scoreline that failed to reflect their domination. Playing at pace and keeping the ball alive, Munster looked untouchable against a Connacht outfit that not only struggled with the home side’s physicality, but their opponents’ pace in attack.

Eventually it was RJ Snyman who scored the opening score following relentless pressure - Connacht not helped when flanker Shamus Hurley Langton was binned.

The Leinster-bound Snyman was impressive with his carrying ability, and eventually a strong Connacht defence was broken when the South African had the reach to claim the opening try after 18 minute.

Connacht just could not get a break in the opening quarter. Forced on the defensive for long periods, during which they lost also scrumhalf Matthew Devine to injury, they conceded a second try by the 26th minute. All their previous defensive work was undone when Calvin Nash broke through a porous midfield to add to the score, with Crowley adding the extras for a 14-0 lead.

Despite the best efforts of Paul Boyle and Finlay Bealham up front, but there was little respite against a well-drilled Munster defence that stymied Connacht’s attacking efforts, while a penalty on 31 minutes should have provided a scoring opportunity, but from the resulting penalty to touch they failed to secure the line-out.

Eventually they delivered a necessary score when outhalf Jack Carty spotted space out wide ad delivered the perfect pass to left wing Byron Ralston who raced in for a much-needed score after 38 minutes. Carty added the extras to give Pete Wilkins’ side some respite after an opening half with little in terms of possession or territorial control.

Connacht did create chances early in the second half, but failed to capitalise on a Tom Farrell break and within a minute Munster responded, capitalising  with Nanakvill breaking away to make it 21-7, the conversion from Crowley.

Hurley-Langton could have added to the tally, but for a foot in touch, and led by Aki in attack and Conor Oliver in defence the visitors tried to claw their way back into the contest.

However, the contest was well and truly decided when Conor Murray touched down after 63 minutes despite Byron Ralston adding to Connacht’s tally with a try three minutes later.

Connacht, having failed to capitalise on a break from Jarrad Butler, handed possession immediately back to Munster, and within minutes a superb offload from Nankivell found Joey Carbery to score the fifth, adding the extras for a 35-12 lead.

Too slick and too strong, there was no way back for Connacht with 10 minutes remaining. A poor line out handed possession to Thomas Ahern who finished with a flourish for try number six, while Shane Daly added the seventh for a comprehensive victory. It put them in position for a successful title defence; Connacht, however, with games against the Stormers and Leinster have a bigger hill to climb out of the bottom eight.

Munster: S Zebo; C Nash, A Nankivell, S O’Brien (A Frisch 48 ), S Daly; J Crowley (J Carbery 59 ), C Casey (C Murray 58 ); J Loughman (M Donnelly 68 ), N Scannell (E Clarke 64 ), S Archer (O Jager 50 ); RG Snyman (T Ahern 57 ), T Beirne; P O’Mahony, A Kendellen (G Coombes 45 ), J O’Donoghue.

Connacht: T O’Halloran (C Forde ht ); S Jennings, T Farrell, B Aki, B Ralston; J Carty, M Devine (C Blade 24 ); P Dooley (J Duggan 53 ), D Heffernan (D Tierney-Martin 64 ), F Bealham (J Aungier 53 ); J Joyce, O Dowling (N Murray 60 ); S Hurley-Langton, C Oliver (S Jansen 53 ), P Boyle (J Butler 59 ).

Referee: A Jones (Wales ).


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