Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Rogan Thomson/INPHO Munster's Calvin Nash celebrates with Craig Casey after scoring a try.
# four from four
Munster prove too much for Dragons as they continue spotless start in Newport
Matt Gallagher touched down twice and Calvin Nash bagged another as Munster held off their hosts in difficult conditions.

Dragons 16

Munster 28

MUNSTER MADE IT four wins from four in the Guinness Pro14 this season with a gritty 28-16 victory over the Dragons at a wet Rodney Parade.

It continued Johan van Graan’s side’s strong start to Conference B and although they never looked like losing, the southern province did not have things all their own way in Newport.

Munster’s tries came from Matt Gallagher(x2) and Calvin Nash although there was to be no bonus point for the visitors.

JJ Hanrahan kicked the rest of the Munster points with scrum-half Craig Casey outstanding throughout, while home out-half Sam Davies was responsible for everything on the Welsh side of the scoreboard save Matthew Screech’s late consolation try.

John Hodnett was a late Munster change before kick-off as Chris Cloete missed out in the back row with a neck injury. Screech made his 150th Dragons appearance with home director of rugby Dean Ryan absent after a member of his coaching staff returned a positive Covid-19 test.

Davies and Hanrahan swapped early penalties before Munster started to get on top in the wet weather. Damian de Allende was involved in a net blindside move and fullback Gallagher grabbed the first try in the corner after some nice Munster hands in contact. Hanrahan’s kick went wide.

The conditions were tailor-made for an Irish pack and Munster were on top in the tight. Three more points from Hanrahan were followed by a try for Nash after Rory Scannell kicked through. Darren Sweetnam collected the kick and Nash was in support to dot down.

Gallagher had laid the platform for the try after collecting an up and under from the Dragons and sprinting straight down the middle of the pitch.
Hanrahan converted, but the home side grabbed one back through Davies after they made the most of an advantage.

matt-gallagher-celebrates-scoring-a-try-with-damian-de-allende Tommy Dickson / INPHO Matt Gallagher celebrates scoring a try with Damian de Allende and Calvin Nash. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

With a shot to nothing, a chip ahead from captain Rhodri Williams caused confusion in the Munster defence and Hanrahan failed to collect.
His opposite number Davies pounced to score, but could not convert. It meant Munster were 10 points clear at the break.

Davies kicked a simple three points to narrow the hosts’ deficit to seven at the start of the second half as Munster came under pressure.

Hanrahan, though, calmed the nerves with a third penalty and Sweetnam had what would have been a third Munster try ruled out for his being ahead of Hanrahan as the Kerry man kicked ahead.

Sweetnam was then denied again: Gallagher returned a Dragons kick with interest and fed the Dunmanway native to score, but Munster replacement John O’Sullivan was adjudged to have blocked a defender as Gallagher scythed through the Dragons defence.

Both teams unloaded their benches in search of fresh legs, but Munster had their opposition at arm’s length. 

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A nicely crafted third Munster try arrived with nine minutes remaining as De Allende helped to send Gallagher to the corner for his second of the afternoon. Hanrahan nailed the conversion, but there was still time for the Dragons to claim a consolation through Screech.

Try: S Davies 31′, Screech 80′
Pens: S Davies 2′, 47′

Tries: Gallagher 13′, 71′, Nash 24′
Cons: Hanrahan 25′, 72′
Pens: Hanrahan 7′, 22′, 52′


15. Matt Gallagher
14. Calvin Nash
13. Rory Scannell
12. Damian de Allende
11. Darren Sweetnam
10. JJ Hanrahan
9. Craig Casey

1. Josh Wycherley
2. Kevin O’Byrne
3. Keynan Knox
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Billy Holland (captain)
6. Jack O’Donoghue
7. John Hodnett
8. Gavin Coombes


16. Diarmuid Barron
17. James Cronin
18. Stephen Archer
19. Thomas Ahern
20. Tommy O’Donnell
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Jake Flannery
23. Jack O’Sullivan

Dragons: J Lewis; O Jenkins, A Warren, J Roberts, A Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (captain); B Harris, R Hibbard, L Fairbrother, J Davies, M Screech, B Fry, H Keddie, O Griffiths.

Replacements: E Shipp, C Maguire, A Jarvis, B Carter (not used), T Basham, T Knoyle, J Dixon, D Howells (not used).

Referee: Ben Blain (SRU)

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