Munster 29 Scarlets 10
MUNSTER left it late to claim a vital bonus point as their visitors Scarlets finished up with 13 in windswept Thomond Park on Saturday night.
The home side were full value for their win and had West Cork’s Gavin Coombes to thank as they took maximum points.
In fact, all four tries came from Leesiders with Jack O’Sullivan and Billy Holland also crossing the whitewash while man of the match Kevin O’Byrne did everything in the game but score.
Scarlets didn’t help their cause by being down to 14 men for the second half of the game after they had Sam Lousi sent off before half-time when he punched a couple of Munster players and the Welsh region ended the game with 13 then with the late sin-binning of Tevita Ratuva.
They made Munster fight all the way but the ferocity and amount of tackles, as well as the weather, eventually took their toll on the visitors.
With the wind swirling around Thomond Park Angus O’Brien missed one from the tee after six minutes, but Dan Jones put Scarlets ahead with a penalty two minutes later.
The weather had a huge effect on the game with plenty of handling errors on Munster’s side. As a result Scarlets got a foothold in the game but Munster kept going through the phases and Aaron Shingler infringed with JJ Hanrahan kicking the points.
Scarlets shot themselves in the foot six minutes from the interval when lock Lousi was sent off for a couple of crude punches, which connected with Hanrahan and Fineen Wycherley.
Munster scored their opening try a minute later when O’Sullivan forced his way over from close in and Hanrahan’s conversion made it 10-3 at the interval.
Then Billy Holland punished poor Scarlets blindside defence at a ruck when he ran in Munster’s second try.
Munster looked home and hosed at that stage but conceded a couple of penalties close to their posts, both of which Scarlets opted to scrummage, and from the second, replacement Javan Sebastian crashed over. Jones converted to make it 15-10 with 20 minutes remaining.
Then on 70 minutes, Scarlets were reduced to 13 players when Ratuva was sin-binned for a tip tackle.
A minute later Munster took a step closer to their bonus point when Coombes scored following a driving lineout, and their late effort paid off when he burrowed over for his second in the final play.
Scorers for Munster: Tries: G Coombes (2), J O’Sullivan, B Holland, cons: JJ Hanrahan (3), pen: JJ Hanrahan.
Scarlets: Try: J Sebastian try; con: D Jones, pen: D Jones.
MUNSTER: M Haley; C Nash, C Farrell, D Goggin, D Sweetnam; JJ Hanrahan, C Casey; J Cronin, K O’Byrne, S Archer; F Wycherley, B Holland; A Botha, C Cloete, J O’Sullivan.
Replacements: J Loughman for Cronin, J Ryan for Archer (58), J Hodnett for Cloete (63), T O’Donnell for O’Sullivan G Coombes for Wycherley (68), R Scannell for Goggin (70), N McCarthy for Casey, D Barron for O’Byrne (75).
SCARLETS: A O’Brien; C Baldwin, P Asquith, S Hughes, S Evans; D Jones, J Evans; P Price, T Davies, W Kruger; L Rawlins, S Lousi; A Shingler, J Macleod, U Cassiem.
Replacements Used: T Ratuva, D Conbeer, D Blacker, D Evans, I Phillips, J Sebastian, S Cummins, D Davies.
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU).