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'It was really refreshing... Munster played exceptionally well'

Johann van Graan’s side are top of the agenda on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra.

Dan Goggin and Calvin Nash celebrate a Munster try.
Dan Goggin and Calvin Nash celebrate a Munster try.
Image: Ryan Hiscott/INPHO

Updated Mon 3:00 PM

THE MAJOR KNEE injury for RG Snyman definitely took the gloss off the victory, but Munster delivered an impressive performance yesterday as they hammered Scarlets 43-13 in Wales.

Head coach Johann van Graan had made 11 changes to his starting team as he rotated for the game at Parc y Scarlets, while the home side were as close to full-strength as possible.

But Munster were dominant as they swept past the Scarlets with a display that drew great praise from Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday.

Eoin: “‘Energising’ was the word that came to mind, it was the exuberance of youth in a fresh-looking side. They played exceptionally well.

“Jack O’Sullivan’s line off Neil Cronin for the opening try, you can see he possesses pace, he’s dynamic, gets around the pitch well.

“I’m guessing a lot of them were watching Marcus Smith on Friday night because Jack O’Donoghue does a Marcus Smith with the kick through for the Liam Coombes try. There’s another one in the first half from Diarmuid Barron, a lovely linebreak and a nonchalant kick down the right edge and Jack O’Donoghue nearly latches onto it. 

“It was really refreshing and they put in a comprehensive performance to beat a Scarlets side that was almost at full strength and had started the season relatively well, so a surprise.”

Murray: “Scarlets were poor across the board really, they will be gutted with even a lack of effort on the defensive side at times, but Munster were excellent in how they dismantled them.

“There was a nice combination of smarts and fluidity. They struck from set-piece or turnover possession. When you have Chris Cloete in that kind of form, he provides you with plenty of turnover ball.

“Cloete was outstanding, Fineen Wycherley as well up front – guys like that made it easier for the backs who stood out in some of that flowing attack.

“Ben Healy was excellent. His first big involvement was that 50:22 kick from the midfield scrum just before the Jack O’Sullivan try. It was a really clever play – Dan Goggin behind the scrum, sweeping left with Neil Cronin to draw Scarlets fullback Johnny McNicholl over to his right-hand side.

“Then Munster switch back under the scrum with Healy and he has got numbers outside him for a pass, Liam Coombes swings from behind the scrum to the right-hand side, and Scarlets left wing Steff Evans can’t drop as early as he would have liked.

“Then obviously a massive boot from Healy but it was a really clever play from Munster and they had a number of those plays where everything, despite the changes, was cohesive and slick and fluid. They should be really pleased with that.” 

liam-coombes-celebrates-after-scoring-his-sides-fifth-try-of-the-game-with-shane-daly Liam Coombes scores for Munster. Source: Ryan Hiscott/INPHO

Eoin and Murray discussed many of the other positives, including Healy’s impressive performance in the number 10 shirt, but Snyman’s injury – which has since been confirmed as a re-rupture of the ACL in his knee – is a massive blow.

Snyman has been limited to just 54 minutes on the pitch for Munster since joining last year – having suffered the original ACL rupture minutes into his debut – and his contract is due to expire at the end of this season.

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Murray: “This is just an absolute sickener. He comes down from a restart regather, a really innocuous thing.

“This is just incredibly bad luck and the guy must be going through hell now.”

Eoin: “It’s devastating. We’ve spoken about how important he was going to be for Munster this year if they were going to compete at the top end in Europe particularly.

“You’re just distraught for him. To have been out for such an extended period, rehabbed, come back, and made such an instant impact every time he has come off the bench in these three games. It’s such a cruel blow.”

Elsewhere on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra, Eoin and Murray broke down Connacht’s disappointing home defeat to the Dragons, as well as analysing wins for Ulster and Leinster in the United Rugby Championship.

There was also plenty of focus on Harlequins’ thrilling comeback victory over Bristol in the Premiership, with the lads delighting in the exciting rugby played by the likes of Marcus Smith and Alex Dombrandt.

You can sign up as a member of The42 here in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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