Finlay Bealham carries into contact. James Crombie/INPHO
Friendly fire

Six-try Connacht underline attacking quality with pre-season win over Munster

Andy Friend’s side look in good shape ahead of next week’s Pro14 opener.

Connacht 40

Munster 31

CONNACHT AND MUNSTER shared 11 tries in this afternoon’s high-scoring friendly at the Sportsground, with Andy Friend’s side coming out on the right side to complete three pre-season wins from three.

A week out from the start of the Guinness Pro14 season, the provinces played out an entertaining contest in front of 4,738 in Galway, as they scored nine tries between them during a frenetic second half.

Following wins over Oyonnax and Russia during pre-season, Friend’s side again underlined their attacking quality ahead of next week’s trip to Scarlets, with the hosts crossing six times on Saturday afternoon.

Caolin Blade’s early score was cancelled out by Rory Scannell’s reply for Munster and although it was 7-5 to Connacht at the break, the game became fast and loose thereafter as both Friend and Johann van Graan unloaded their benches. 

Two tries in as many minutes at the start of the second half through Jarrad Butler and Blade’s second put Connacht in the ascendancy, with young out-half Conor Fitzgerald again impressing.

kieran-marmion-scores-a-try Marmion scored twice off the bench. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Shane Daly brought Munster back into the game on 53 minutes but Kieran Marmion — on as a second-half sub — and then Peter Robb put the result beyond doubt with a quickfire double.

At 35-12, the scoring wasn’t finished there as Rhys Marshall and Alby Mathewson added to Munster’s tally, before Marmion and then another for Daly completed proceedings. 

Connacht open their campaign at Parc y Scarlets next Saturday [KO 5.15pm], while Munster welcome Dragons to Thomond Park earlier in the day [KO 3pm].

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