MUNSTER captain Paul O’Connell believes there is no fear of the side becoming complacent ahead of Sunday’s big return Heineken Cup showdown with the Scarlets at Thomond Park.
Two-time European Cup winners Munster moved two points clear at the head of Pool 1 after their 17-14 win on Saturday and are now odds-on at 4/7 to finish in top spot.
Munster went 8-0 down early on but they recovered well and a Niall Ronan try and two penalties from Ronan O’Gara had them 11-8 up at the break. O’Gara was on target with two more penalties in the second half and Munster’s defence was superb to keep the Scarlets at bay
Official Man of the Match Paul O’Connell said afterwards: “There is no danger of us getting ahead of ourselves. We know how close the games are and we will be fully focused against the Scarlets next week.
“It was a hell of a win for us (on Saturday) and we are absolutely thrilled with it, but we are fully aware it’s only half-time.
“From our point of view there is nothing like a loss to focus the mind so I’d imagine Sunday’s game will be an incredibly tough game.
“It’s a great win and we are very proud of it. I thought our pack was excellent. We got a lot of yardage from our scrum and some points from our scrum.
“It’s massively important we have got a home game next, but it’s not like we are running away with any games. Every game is a fight to the death at the moment and every game is a battle.
Munster head coach, Tony McGahan doesn’t believe his side have put away the threat of the Scarlets just yet and is hoping for a 14th straight win over their Welsh rivals in all competitions on Sunday.
“We are only half way through this tie and we are well aware of the threat they possess,” McGahan said.
“We were under the pump for the first 25 minutes and we were lucky that Rhys Priestland missed a few kicks he would normally slot over.
“The crucial point for us was between 70-74 minutes when we held them out. There were five or six of their players on their knees after that.
“We really needed our forwards to front up and the scrum gave us a strong platform and everyone tackled and drove well.”
A defiant Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies promised his side would come to Limerick with all guns blazing this weekend.
“We have always seen this as a two-match series and we have to go out there (to Thomond Park) and get something from the game,” Nigel Davies said.
“It’s a tough place to go but we will go there all guns blazing as we did against Northampton.”
SCORERS – Scarlets: Aaron Shingler try, Rhys Priestland two pens, Stephen Jones pen. Munster: Niall Ronan try, Ronan O’Gara, four pens.
SCARLETS - Liam Williams; George North, Scott Williams, Jonathan Davies, Sean Lamont; Rhys Priestland, Gareth Davies; Iestyn Thomas, Matthew Rees (capt), Rhys Thomas, Sione Timani, Damian Welch, Aaron Shingler, Rob McCusker, Ben Morgan. Replacements: Jonathan Edwards for Shingler (46 mins), Tavis Knoyle for G Davies, Stephen Jones for Newton (both 58 mins), Ken Owens for Rees, Phil John for I Thomas, Kieran Murphy for McCusker (all 63 mins), Deacon Manu for R Thomas (75 mins), Viliame Iongi for L Williams (76 mins).
MUNSTER - Denis Hurley; Johne Murphy, Will Chambers, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo; Ronan O’Gara, Conor Murray; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donnacha Ryan, Paul O’Connell (capt), Peter O’Mahony, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan. Replacements: Denis Leamy for O’Mahony (41 mins), Donncha O’Callaghan for Ryan, Danny Barnes for Chambers (both 56 mins), Tomas O’Leary for Murray (63 mins), Marcus Horan for Du Preez (75 mins), John Hayes for Botha (76 mins).
REFEREE - Romain Poite (France)