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Duncan Casey celebrates Munster's second try.
Duncan Casey celebrates Munster's second try.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Connacht's top six lead is down to a tiebreaker as Munster put six tries past the westerners

Anthony Foley’s side recorded a comfortable win at Thomond Park.
Mar 28th 2015, 7:21 PM 11,887 31

Munster 42 Connacht 20

THE DIFFERENCE, IN the end, was Munster’s efficiency in attack. When they made raids into the Connacht 22 they almost always left with points, often coming away with seven.

When the game was in the balance, Pat Lam’s men had a few chances to cross the whitewash but came up short. One chance in the second half saw out-half Jack Carty hold onto the ball when a pass to his left could have seen Matt Healy cross in the corner.

Connacht left that attack with three points but minutes later Duncan Casey was rumbling over from the back of a maul, which was a nice summation of the game overall.

Connacht started brightly and had three points on the board inside the opening few minutes but the home side had their first try soon after.

A typically bruising CJ Stander carry close to the line sucked in defenders and Billy Holland dove over in the newly created space.

That was all the scoring until Casey responded to Carty’s second penalty by crossing the line midway through the second half. Minutes later Simon Zebo scooped a loopy Denis Hurley pass off his bootlaces and wriggled over to extend Munster’s lead.

Replacement out-half Miah Nikora reduced the gap to eight when he picked up a loose ball on the left flank and sprinted 30m to score but that just woke Munster up.

They crossed for three more tries in the final ten minutes as Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley and Keith Earls scored to give Munster a healthy 20-point advantage, with the Australian’s score securing a bonus point for the home side.

Shane O’Leary scored a late consolation for Connacht two minutes from time.

It was a deeply disappointing outing for Pat Lam’s side on a day that saw Edinburgh draw level with them on 43 points. However, the westerners hold onto sixth spot since they have a better points difference.

You could look at the scoreline and see the eight tries that were scored and presume this was a rip-roaring affair of end-to-end rugby. In reality it was an often dreary encounter only brightened by the odd moment.

If anything, it makes you appreciate the rarity of that Six Nations Saturday even more.

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Will Slattery

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