Ben Brady/INPHO RG Snyman takes to the field at Musgrave Park.
RG Snyman returns as Munster hold off astonishing Scarlets comeback
Graham Rowntree’s men held on for a fifth URC win in-a-row after a remarkable game.

Munster 49

Scarlets 42 

THE CAPACITY CROWD rose to their feet to greet RG Snyman when he finally made his long-awaited return to action after 63 minutes, but their hearts were in their mouths at the end as Scarlets did their utmost to spoil the occasion with an astonishing comeback.

The margin of victory looked like all that remained to be decided when Munster raced 28-0 in front after just 27 minutes but the defensive lapses of the Welsh were mirrored by their hosts after the restart and a 5-2 try count in Scarlets favour after the break told its own story.

The return of World Cup winner Snyman gives Munster a huge boost heading into the business end of the season but Monday’s review session will not be pretty after a second-half collapse that nearly cost them the game.

Both of these sides came into this clash boosted by four league wins in-a-row, but there was only one team in it from the outset as Munster bossed matters with some magnificent flowing rugby which the Llanelli side just could not live with.

Munster had the bonus point in the bag by the 27th minute and when Scarlets, who didn’t get inside the home 22 until seven minutes from the break, pulled a try back, Graham Rowntree’s men responded with a fifth touchdown to lead 35-7 at the interval.

Four backs supplied Munster’s five opening-half tries with full-back Patrick Campbell striking inside three minutes after a superb offload in the tackle by Antoine Frisch.

Lock Jean Kleyn was denied by a tap tackle from his opposite number Sam Lousi after ten minutes but the reprieve was short-lived for the Welsh with Calvin Nash punishing poor defending with his tenth Munster try.

calvin-nash-celebrates-after-scoring-his-teams-seventh-try Ben Brady / INPHO Calvin Nash celebrates after scoring Munster's seventh try. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

And with Munster opting to run at every opportunity, there was little surprise when the hard-working Shane Daly got the first of his tries after 24 minutes and the bonus point was wrapped up three minutes later when scrum-half Paddy Patterson skipped through a sleepy defence to score.

Scarlets eventually got a foothold and worked a good try with Tongan locks Vaea Fifita and Sam Lousi combing to send centre Joe Roberts through to score, with Sam Costelow converting from the left wing.

But the Munster response was impressive and Daly got his second score when Joey Carbery, who converted all five opening half tries, flicked him a neat pass to take a 35-7 advantage into the break.

The second half was a much closer affair with Scarlets finding their groove. Lock Fifita reduced the margin after 47 minutes and while Gavin Coombes, with his 33rd Munster try, responded immediately, the Welsh struck for two converted tries from No.8 Sione Kalamafoni and Lousi to cut the gap to 42-28.

That was the cue to spring Snyman to close out the game and with the crowd still on their feet welcoming the Springbok, Munster mauled their way through before Jack Crowley and Daly combined to send Nash in for his second try.

Replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies got Scarlets fifth try and then Tom Rogers crossed to ensure a nervous finish for Munster but they held on for a fifth URC win in-a-row after a remarkable game.

malakai-fekitoa-signs-autographs-for-fans-after-the-game Ben Brady / INPHO Munster's Malakai Fekitoa signs autographs for fans after the game. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

Munster scorers:

Tries: Nash [2], Daly [2], Campbell, Patterson, G Coombes

Cons: J Carbery [6 from 6], J Crowley [1 from 1]

Scarlets scorers:

Tries: Roberts, Fifita, Kalamafoni, Lousi, Davies, Rogers

Cons: S Costelow [6 from 6]

Munster: Patrick Campbell (Ethan Coughlan ’56); Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Shane Daly (Carbery ’78); Joey Carbery (Jack Crowley ’53), Paddy Patterson; Josh Wycherley (Mark Donnelly ’48), Diarmuid Barron (Niall Scannell ’48-63), Roman Salanoa (Keynan Knox ’48); Jean Kleyn (RG Snyman ’63), Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (capt) (Jack O’Sullivan ’52), John Hodnett (Alex Kendellen ’68), Gavin Coombes.

Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl (Johnny Williams ’18); Tom Rogers, Joe Roberts, Ioan Nicholas, Steff Evans; Sam Costelow, Dane Blacker (Gareth Davies ’46); Kemsley Mathias, Shaun Evans, Sam Wainwright (Javan Sebastian ’46); Vaea Fifita (Morgan Jones ’67), Sam Lousi; Josh Macleod (capt) (Carwyn Tuipulotu ’63), Dan Davis, Sione Kalamafoni.

Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland).

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