Munster's Liam Coombes celebrates after scoring a try. Ryan Hiscott/INPHO

Munster's unbeaten start continues as they thrash Scarlets across the water

Johan van Graan’s side secured an impressive bonus-point win.

Scarlets 13

Munster 43

MUNSTER’S UNBEATEN START to the season continued as they thrashed a poor Scarlets side in Llanelli.

Johan van Graan made 11 changes from the side who beat the Stormers last weekend, while the Scarlets brought back the majority of their British & Irish Lions contingent. But the west Walians were no match for Munster’s second string, with the Irish province superior in every aspect of play.

Munster made the perfect start when, after a few powerful carries, No 8 Jack O’Sullivan sliced through the Scarlets defence to touch down under the posts for a try which Ben Healey converted.

The visitors enjoyed the ascendancy in the opening stages of this game, with their powerful ball carriers causing the Scarlets a lot of problems, and Healey extended their lead with another penalty.

The Scarlets finally found their rhythm and after a well-worked driving lineout Johnny McNicholl put Steff Evans over at the corner. But the try was overruled by the television match official with Evans’ foot deemed to be in touch. Sam Costelow finally got the Scarlets on the board with a successful penalty from 45 metres out. After a patchy period Munster hit back with a cracking try from distance.

The ball was spun wide to the wing from a scrum which allowed Calvin Nash to race past Steff Evans, before drawing the last defender to put Liam Coombes over for a superb try which Healey converted.

Then out of nowhere, the Scarlets hit from distance. An up-and-under from Matthew Gallagher went loose before being gathered by Costelow who raced through a gap before putting the Munster defence on the back foot with a smart cross-kick through. Scarlets full-back McNicholl won the foot race to touch down for a try which Costelow converted.

But the Scarlets defence was at sixes and sevens all afternoon, and Munster were able to find holes with ease. A terrific pass from Healey sent Nash clear with the wing acrobatically finishing at the far right-hand corner to give Munster a 22-13 lead at the interval.

Munster claimed the bonus point try five minutes into the second-half when loosehead prop Jeremy Loughman powered his way over from short-range with Healey adding the extras. The Scarlets then proceeded to lay siege to the Munster try, but after a period of sustained pressure the visitors were able to clear their lines.

The Scarlets defence was comically bad at time with Munster captain Jack O’Donoghue almost walking through four home defenders before chipping ahead for Coombes to score. Chris Cloete was next to score with the South African touching down from short-range, and the game was over as a contest thereafter.

Scorers for Scarlets

Tries: J McNicholl 29

Conversions: S Costelow 30

Penalties: S Costelow 17, 34

Scorers for Munster

Tries: J O’Sullivan 4, L Coombes 23, 59, C Nash 37, J Loughman 45, C Cloete 62

Conversions: B Healey 5, 25, 46, 60, 63

Penalties: B Healey 11

Scarlets: J McNicholl; T Rogers, J Davies, S Williams (J Williams 27), S Evans; S Costelow (D Jones 65), G Davies (K Hardy 56); R Evans (W Jones 45), K Owens (R Elias 45), S Lee (W John 46), A Shingler, L Ashley, B Thomson, D Davis (E Evans 45), S Kalamafoni (T Price 50).

Munster: M Gallagher; C Nash, L Coombes, D Goggin, S Daly; B Healey (J Crowley 65), N Cronin (P Paterson 66); J Loughman (J Wycherley 64), D Barron (K O’Byrne 63), S Archer (S Archer 52), T Ahern (RG Snyman 52) (J Daly 62), F Wycherley, J O’Donoghue, C Cloete (A Kendellen 70), J O’Sullivan.

Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)

Star man: Chris Cloete (Munster).

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