‘Significant’ injury to RG Snyman overshadows outstanding Munster showing

Johann van Graan ‘pretty worried’ after South African lock goes off with knee injury

Munster’s Jack O’Donoghue makes a break during the United Rugby Championship match at  Parc y Scarlets in  Llanelli. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho

Munster’s Jack O’Donoghue makes a break during the United Rugby Championship match at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho

 

Scarlets 13 Munster 43

Munster maintained their unbeaten start to the United Rugby Championship season with a bonus-point victory over a woeful Scarlets outfit. But this impressive win was soured by a “significant” injury to South African lock RG Snyman who limped off after coming on as a second-half replacement.

Snyman has missed a large part of the past 18 months with a serious knee injury and then undergoing skin graft surgery following a fire pit incident, and it looks as if he will another long stint on the sidelines.

“It looked like it might be significant but I’m not going to comment on it until he’s gone for a scan,” said Munster head coach Johann van Graan.

“He’s a very important squad player for us in terms of what he brings. Hopefully, we get some good news but it’s difficult to say at this stage.

“After speaking to him in the changing room I’m pretty worried about it.

“If it turns out to be serious, he’s a phenomenal man and he will get through this. The battles that he’s gone through over the last 15 months not a lot of human beings can do that.”

Eyebrows were raised when Van Graan made 11 changes from the side which comprehensively beat the Stormers last weekend, with many frontline players rested. The Scarlets on the other hand welcomed back the majority of their British & Irish Lions contingent with the Ken Owens, Gareth Davies, and Wyn Jones returning, but it didn’t bother Munster one jot. The Irish province totally outplayed the Scarlets, outscoring Dwayne Peel’s side by six tries to one.

“We are very happy to get the win and especially the five points,” said Van Graan.

“We came here with a specific job in mind, and I think we executed our game plan really well. It was really pleased with the way we defended, especially close to our line.

Munster’s Liam Coombes celebrates after scoring his side’s fifth try of the game with Shane Daly. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho
Munster’s Liam Coombes celebrates after scoring his side’s fifth try of the game with Shane Daly. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho

“We only conceded one try from a broken-field chip. I though we scored some very good open field tries and some excellent set-piece tries.

“I felt we deserved our lead at half-time and in the second half we spoke about consolidating and we kept going. I thought we did that really well.

“We coach these players every single day and we’ve been working this project for the last five years. We are improving every single season and it doesn’t matter who takes the field they’ve got a responsibility to the shirt and to come away to Parc y Scarlets and get a five-point bonus point win was excellent.”

Munster’s forwards dominated the vast majority of the first half, and it took them a mere four minutes to score their first try with number eight Jack O’Sullivan slicing through the Scarlets defence to touch down under the posts.

And Munster were soon over for their second when Calvin Nash raced past Evans, before drawing his man to put Liam Coombes over, with Ben Healy adding the extras. Then out of nowhere the Scarlets hit from distance. An up and under from Matthew Gallagher went loose before being gathered by Sam Costelow who raced through a gap before putting the Munster defence on the back foot with a smart cross-kick through. Scarlets fullback Johnny McNicholl won the foot race to touch down for a try which Costelow converted.

But the Scarlets defence was at sixes and sevens all afternoon, and Munster were able to find holes with ease. A terrific pass from Healy sent Nash clear with the wing acrobatically finishing at the far right-hand corner to give Munster a 22-13 lead at the interval.

Munster claimed the bonus point try five minutes into the second half when loosehead prop Jeremy Loughman powered his way over from short range. The Scarlets defence was a shambles with Coombes and player of the match Chris Cloete scoring late tries to seal the win.

SCARLETS: J McNicholl; T Rogers, J Davies (capt), S Williams, S Evans; S Costelow, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens, S Lee; L Ashley, A Shingler; B Thomson, D Davis, S Kalamafoni.

Replacements: J Williams for S Williams (27 mins), W John for S Lee, R Elias for K Owens, W Jones for Rob Evans, S Evans for D Davis (all 46), T Price for S Kalamafoni (50), K Hardy for G Davies (52), D Jones for S Costelow (64).

MUNSTER: M Gallagher; C Nash, L Coombes, D Goggin, S Daly; B Healy, N Cronin; J Loughman, D Barron, S Archer; T Ahern, F Wycherley; J O’Donoghue (capt), C Cloete, J O’Sullivan.

Replacements: S Archer for J Ryan, RG Snyman for T Ahern (both 52 mins), J Daly for RG Snyman (62), J Wycherley for D Barron (63), K O’Byrne for J Loughman (64), J Crowley for B Healey, P Paterson for N Cronin (both 65), A Kendellen for C Cloete (70).

Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)

Star man: Chris Cloete (Munster)

Attendance: 6,336

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