Craig Casey leads Munster to a rout of Dragons at Thomond Park

Reds crossed over for 10 tries, including two from the diminutive scrum-half
Craig Casey leads Munster to a rout of Dragons at Thomond Park

Munster’s Gavin Coombes and Craig Casey celebrate the win over Dragons. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Munster 64 Dragons 3 

A sublime performance from scrum-half Craig Casey inspired Munster to a comfortable 10-try rout of the hapless Dragons in their URC encounter at Thomond Park on Saturday evening.

Casey opened the scoring himself in the 10th minute when he sniped at the back of an attacking Munster maul, before stepping inside the covering Dragons out-half Sam Davies to dive over in the left corner.

Davies then got the Dragons up and running with a 17th-minute penalty but five minutes later the livewire Casey scored again from a close-range dart after his forwards had stretched the Dragons defence near their own line.

Munster had their third try by the 24th minute when Munster ran it from deep. The brilliant Chris Farrell made the initial burst, after some slick handling, and when he fed the supporting Mike Haley the full-back had options left and right, and he choose his captain Jack O’Donoghue to his right, who duly ran it in under the posts for a superb team try.

Munster had their bonus point in the bag by the 37th minute, which had been sparked when out-half Jack Crowley put prop John Ryan through a big hole, and when they recycled the ball quickly Crowley and Farrell combined to send Chris Cloete over in the left corner, to leave Munster leading 28-3 at the break.

Munster scored the easiest try they will ever score in the 53rd minute when the switched-on Casey took a quick tap penalty seven metres from the Dragons line and, with the entire Welsh team doing their best statue impression the number nine was able to pop it to Simon Zebo out on the left to dot down.

Another score came straight from the kick off when the Dragon fell asleep once more. This time it came when Davies' kick-off was dropping short, but Haley wasn’t hanging around, as he caught it unopposed and raced clear into the Dragons half, before releasing the supporting Farrell to score.

The tries kept coming, and this was arguably the best of the lot in the 58th minute, as a wonderful offload from Crowley fed Gavin Coombes, who in turn fed Haley, who got yet another assist as he popped it right for Shane Daly to score.

Jack Crowley of Munster is tackled by Sam Davies of Dragons. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Jack Crowley of Munster is tackled by Sam Davies of Dragons. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Openside Cloete got his second of the night in the 64th minute when Casey fed him with a bullet of a pass down the right touchline and the South African was able to crash over in the corner.

Munster then scored a wonderful try off first phase possession when they ran the ball off the top of a lineout, and when Ben Healy passed to Dan Goggin, the big centre was able to show a deft touch to release Rory Scannell, who duly fed John Hodnett to run it in under the posts, and a minute later Hodnett and Daly combined to put O’Donoghue in for his second try.

Scorers for Munster: Crowley (5 cons), Haley (2 cons), Casey, Cloete, O’Donoghue (2 tries each), Zebo, Farrell, Daly, Hodnett (1 try each). 

Dragons: Davies (1 pen). 

MUNSTER: Haley; Daly, Farrell, Goggin, Zebo; Crowley, Casey; J Wycherley, Barron, Ryan; Kleyn, F Wycherley; O’Donoghue (c), Cloete, Coombes.

Subs: Kendellen for F Wycherley (40), Loughman, N Scannell, Archer, R Scannell for J Wycherley, Barron, Ryan and Farrell (55), Healy for Haley (60), Hodnett for Kleyn (65), Cronin for Zebo (68).

DRAGONS: J Williams, Talbot-Davies, Dixon, Owen, Dyer, Davies, R Williams; Bateman, T Davies, Coleman, J Davies, Maksymiw, Keddie (capt), Griffiths, Wainwright.

Subs: Lewis for Owen (39), Fry for Wainwright (40), Seiuli for Bateman (47), Schipp and Taylor for T Davies and J Davies (55), Doge for Coleman (60), Baker for Keddie (71).

Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU).

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