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Munster's Billy Holland celebrates his try.
Munster's Billy Holland celebrates his try.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Coombes double helps Munster ease past 14-man Scarlets

The visitors saw Sam Lousi red-carded in the first half at Thomond Park.
Feb 29th 2020, 7:20 PM 16,356 75

Munster 29

Scarlets 10

DARAGH SMALL reports from Thomond Park.

GAVIN COOMBES SCORED twice as Munster kept up pace in Conference B of the Guinness Pro14 with a crucial bonus point win against the 14 men of Scarlets.

Johann van Graan’s men came into this game with a three-point lead over their opponents while looking to close the gap on the rampant Edinburgh at the top.

Storm Jorge died down slightly as kick-off approached at 5pm but Thomond Park still provided a blustery setting for this massive eight-pointer.

Munster were 10-3 up at half-time after Jack O’Sullivan’s try that came following a red card for Sam Lousi.

Billy Holland added a second try after half-time, and although Javan Sebastian replied, Scarlets had Tevita Ratuva sent to the sin-bin. Coombes killed things off and then scored a second try in the 84th minute.

It was a swirling breeze in the first half and both sides struggled to come to terms with it.

Scarlets opted to put boot to ball and it reaped dividends, as an uncharacteristically sloppy Munster gave away three penalties in first eight minutes.

Dan Jones missed touch with the first while full-back Angus O’Brien’s kick from the tee went narrowly wide of the right-hand upright.

But when Mike Haley opted to play his way out of his own 22, his pass to JJ Hanrahan went to ground, and the Munster out-half was forced to hold on. Jones scored the resultant penalty kick.

Munster finally gained a foothold after their first penalty in the 11th minute but Scarlets were resilient enough to see off the first drive.

Munster came again, with Calvin Nash and Haley forcing Jonathan Evans into touch after a Hanrahan kick through. But Aaron Shingler claimed the lineout and another drive was repelled.

Then Josh Macleod’s wonderful turnover denied Nash and the pressure was relieved.

However Munster came with a relentless 30-phase move and when Scarlets strayed offside and weren’t punished by a try, Hanrahan tapped over the simple penalty in the 24th minute.

The big turning point came 10 minutes later, when Craig Casey created a chance with a great grubber kick.

Munster had a lineout close to the Scarlets line and Cloete was held up short but then a fight broke out with Lousi’s punch leaving Fineen Wycherley having to leave the field with a blood injury, and the Scarlets lock being awarded a red card.

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tempers-flare-between-the-sides-during-the-game Tempers flare between the sides during the game. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Two minutes after that Munster had their first try. The Welsh side did well to stop another surge towards the try-line only for O’Sullivan to claim possession and finish things off.

Hanrahan’s conversion gave Munster a 10-3 half-time lead but the one-man advantage was even bigger.

Scarlets spurned a kicking opportunity at the start of the second half when O’Brien doubled his wides tally from the tee after Cloete infringed.

Munster were denied a second try when Jones got back to touch the ball down ahead of Haley in the 50th minute but again the pressure was building.

Three minutes after that Holland skipped in down the left wing to score the second try. Hanrahan missed the conversion but Munster were 15-3 clear.

Munster showed have been out of touch but Scarlets replacement tighthead Sebastian came up to shock the hosts and score a timely effort in the 62nd minute.

Scarlets’ chances finally faded in the 71st minute when replacement lock what shown a yellow card for a tip tackle on John Hodnett.

Coombes finished Scarlets off with the third try in the 72nd minute and two minutes from time Darren Sweetnam missed a chance to score the fourth.

But there was still time for Munster to reload and Coombes to touch down again.

Scorers for Munster:

Tries: Jack O’Sullivan, Billy Holland, Gavin Coombes (2)

Penalties: JJ Hanrahan [1/1]

Conversions: JJ Hanrahan [3/4]

Scorers for Scarlets:

Tries: Javan Sebastian

Penalties: Angus O’Brien [0/1], Dan Jones [1/1]

Conversions: Dan Jones [1/1]

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Chris Farrell, Dan Goggin (Rory Scannell ’70), Darren Sweetnam; JJ Hanrahan, Craig Casey (Nick McCarthy ’75); James Cronin (Jeremy Loughman ’58), Kevin O’Byrne (Diarmuid Barron ’75), Stephen Archer (John Ryan ’58); Fineen Wycherley (Gavin Coombes ’34-40 blood) (Coombes ’68), Billy Holland; Arno Botha, Chris Cloete (John Hodnett ’63), Jack O’Sullivan (Tommy O’Donnell ’66).

Scarlets: Angus O’Brien; Corey Baldwin, Paul Asquith (Tevita Ratuva ’40), Steff Hughes, Steff Evans; Dan Jones (Ryan Conbeer ’75), Jonathan Evans (Dane Blacker ’74); Phil Price (Dylan Evans ’70), Taylor Davies (Ifan Phillips ’2 inj), Werner Kruger (Javan Sebastian ’53); Lewis Rawlins (Steve Cummins ’68), Sam Lousi; Aaron Shingler, Josh Macleod, Uzair Cassiem(Dan Davis ’63).

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU).

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to figure out where we go from here — not only post-Twickenham, but potentially into September as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the rugby calendar. The lads also discuss the media’s treatment of the Irish team which some fans and players believe is too harsh, but some non-rugby journalists believe to be too soft.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Daragh Small

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