Munster secure first URC away win of season as they dominate Scarlets

RG Snyman made his return to action for the first time since the World Cup

URC: Scarlets 7 Munster 42

Munster secured their first away win in the URC since last season’s final in Cape Town when they impressively carved open a depleted Scarlets side to run out convincing winners by six tries to one.

Springbok RG Snyman made his return to action for Munster for the first time since the World Cup and Joey Carbery kicked all six conversions on a night when Gavin Coombes was again outstanding.

Coombes crossed for two tries, bringing his remarkable haul for Munster to 40 tries in 87 games.

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Munster dominated the opening half and led by 14-0 at the break against a Scarlets side who were in trouble in the set-piece from the outset and were scrambling in open play as they struggled to deal with the blitz defence applied by the visitors.

Munster set out their platform from the early stages, opting not to contest a lineout penalty inside the 22 but then superbly defending the maul and forcing a turnover.

The Munster defence was superb any time Scarlets managed to mount an attack in that opening half, saturating a nine phase move before Seán O’Brien timed his sprint to perfection to intercept and mount a counter-attack from deep which the Welsh managed to get sufficient backs to defend after 29 minutes.

By then they were 14-0 adrift after Munster turned the screw from a well-oiled move. A penalty to the left corner was defended by Scarlets at the cost of a five-metre penalty. This time hooker Niall Scannell tapped and a couple of passes later saw captain Alex Kendellen send number eight Coombes over after 11 minutes, with Carbery adding the conversion from the left.

Their second try was identical, another tapped penalty from close range. Scarlets knew what was coming, Munster just wore down the resistance and Coombes did the rest for his second of the night.

Snyman almost marked his return with an intercept try in his first match for Munster since the URC final in May, but there was also concern when he required treatment after injuring his hand tackling Scarlets fullback Johnny McNicholl.

The double World Cup winner, who formed the biggest ever lock partnership in the league’s history with Tom Ahern, was busy throughout and Scarlets were just not able to cope with the pair of 6ft 9in locks.

Snyman was in the wars, briefly replaced for a few minutes after the restart after suffering a head cut which required bandaging, before he was called ashore after 54 minutes and was replaced by Fineen Wycherley.

Scarlets had reduced the margin by then with Eddie James putting his centre partner Joe Roberts through and he escaped the clutches of Mike Haley and Shane Daly to score, with Charlie Titcombe converting to make it 7-14 after 50 minutes.

Fears of another Munster collapse never materialised. Their bench was much stronger than Scarlets, who played out the final five minutes with 14 players after replacement Teddy Leatherbarrow went off with a head injury after they had brought on all their replacements.

Munster never panicked after Scarlets scored and they pulled away when Jack O’Sullivan scored in the fourth phase after another tapped penalty just moments after a Conor Murray touchdown was scratched after O’Sullivan pulled back Leathbarrow and prevented him from tackling Murray.

Carbery’s conversion made it 21-7 to Munster and they turned the screw as Scarlets wilted in the final quarter. Tom Ahern crowned another fine display when he scored down the right after being out through by Sean O’Brien to secure the bonus point after 66 minutes.

O’Brien then did well to finish in the right corner to score his first try for Munster.

The night finished on a high note for the champions when academy winger Shay McCarthy scored his second Munster try after good work from deep by Carbery and Daly.

Scoring sequence: 11 mins: Coombes try, Carbery con 0-7; 24: Coombes try, Carbery con 0-14; Half-time: 0-14; 50: Roberts try, Titcombe con 7-14; 62: O’Sullivan try, Carbery con 7-21; 66: Ahern try, Carbery con 7-28; 73: O’Brien try, Carbery con 7-35; 77: McCarthy try, Carbery con 7-42.

SCARLETS: J McNicholl; T Lewis, J Roberts, E James, I Nicholas; D Jones, A Hughes; K Mathias, E Swart, H O’Connor; A Craig, S Lousi (c); J Taylor, D Davis, V Fifita. Replacements: S Wainwright for O’Connor (half-time), T Leatherbarrow for Taylor (half-time), C Titcombe for D Jones (50), E Jones for Hughes (50), W Jones for Mathias (50), J Price for Lousi (52), H Thomas for Fifita (67), S Evans for Lewis (67).

MUNSTER: M Haley; S O’Brien, A Frisch, A Nankivell; S Daly; J Carbery, C Murray; J Loughman, N Scannell, O Jager; T Ahern, RG Snyman; R Quinn, A Kendellen (c), G Coombes. Replacements: J O’Sullivan for Quinn (42 mins), F Wycherley for Snyman (42-44, 54), E Coughlan for Murray (43-55, 66), J Wycherley for Loiughman (50), J Ryan for Jager (53), E Clarke for N Scannell (68), R Scannell for Nankivell (68), S McCarthy for Frisch (74).

Referee: Ian Kenny (Scotland).

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