Munster keep the foot down as they run in 10 tries against desperate Dragons

Johann van Graan praises side for keeping up intensity to the end at Thomond Park

Munster 64 Dragons 3

Munster coach Johann van Graan said the most pleasing aspect of their emphatic 10-try win over Dragons was that they maintained their intensity long after they wrapped up the victory and the bonus point at Thomond Park.

Dragons were hopelessly out of their depth and a rampant Munster side, with Chris Farrell and Craig Casey sending out timely reminders to Andy Farrell, almost scored at will as they made it nine wins on the spin at the Limerick venue.

A tougher task might have served as better preparation as Munster head to South Africa for their refixed games against the Bulls and the Lions, but Dragons never offered more than token resistance.


“I thought it was a very good performance from our side,” said Van Graan. “Our structure was very good, we scored some nice tries and the fact that we didn’t concede a try was good.

“What was important was at half-time we said we wanted to keep up the intensity for 80 minutes and I believe we did that. It was a real 23-man performance. We scored the bonus-point try and said we wanted to keep up the ante.”

Casey, Jack O’Donoghue and Chris Cloete each got over for a couple of tries, but some of the scores came with embarrassing ease against a Dragons side who were shell-shocked long before the end.

“We were run off the park,” said Dragons head coach Dean Ryan. “I don’t think the last 40 minutes is representative of what we are trying to do or what we are trying to be and we have to ask some hard questions about that because we didn’t make it hard enough for them in the second half. We have no excuses.”

The template for the win was laid out early when Casey got in for his first try after a penalty down the left and that route also led to his second after 23 minutes.

They struck again from the restart. Farrell made the initial break from deep and then fullback Mike Haley had options outside and in before sending his skipper O’Donoghue rather than Simon Zebo through to score, with Jack Crowley converting to make it 21-3 after 25 minutes.

Munster wrapped up the bonus point four minutes from the break when tighthead John Ryan broke before Farrell sent Cloete away down the left to score, with Crowley maintaining his 100 per cent record off the tee with a superb conversion from the touchline.

Munster turned the screw in the third quarter and ran in three more tries as Dragons disintegrated. A tapped penalty inside the 22 from Casey caught the Dragons defence asleep and sent Zebo over unchallenged after 53 minutes.

They crossed again within a minute when Haley collected the restart and raced through without a hand being laid on him before he set up Farrell to score under the posts. Crowley converted to make it 40-3 before another quick move through the hands four minutes later put Shane Daly away down the right to score.

They didn’t relent and a bullet pass from Casey put Cloete over for his second try in the right corner after 64 minutes before good work from centres Dan Goggin and Rory Scannell sent John Hodnett through to score under the posts 17 minutes from time.

Ben Healy, who took over the kicking duties when he came on with Crowley switching to fullback, added the extras and did likewise five minutes from time when captain O’Donoghue completed the rout with his second try of a facile win as they now turn their attentions to the tasks which will they will face in Pretoria and Johannesburg in the next two weekends.

SCORERS – Munster: J O'Donoghue, C Casey, C Cloete 2 tries each, S Zebo, C Farrell, S Daly, J Hodnett try each. J Crowley 5 cons, B Healy 2 cons. Dragons: S Davies pen.

MUNSTER: M Haley; S Daly, C Farrell, D Goggin, S Zebo; J Crowley, C Casey; J Wycherley, D Barron, J Ryan; J Kleyn, F Wycherley; J O'Donoghue, C Cloete, G Coombes.

Replacements: A Kendellen for F Wycherley (h-t), N Scannell for Barron, R Scannell for Farrell, J Loughman for J Wycherley, S Archer for Ryan (all 56 mins), B Healy for Haley (60), J Hodnett for Kleyn (65), N Cronin for Zebo (69).

DRAGONS: J Williams; W Talbot-Davies, J Dixon, A Owen, R Dyer; S Davies, R Williams; G Bateman, T Davies, C Coleman; J Davies, J Maksymiw; H Keddie, O Griffiths, A Wainwright.

Replacements: J Lewis for Owen (40 mins), B Fry for Wainwright (h-t), A Seiuli for Bateman (47), L Jones for Talbot-Davies, H Taylor for J Davies (both 56), E Shipp for T Davies (57), M Doge for Coleman (60), D Baker for R Williams (65).

Referee: Sam Grove-White (Sco).