MUNSTER warmed up for next weekend’s European Champions Cup opener away to Sale with a hard-earned 17-6 victory over a plucky Scarlets side in their Guinness PRO12 round six tie.
It was always going to be difficult for Munster to replicate the intensity and physicality that characterised their excellent away win over Leinster six days earlier. And with eight changes to their starting line-up from their Dublin win, Munster huffed and puffed for long stages of this game played out before an official attendance of 13,851.
Munster led 8-6 after a scrappy opening half, thanks to a fine try from Australian centre Andrew Smith and a JJ Hanrahan penalty goal.
Three second half penalties from Hanrahan helped Munster secure a precious win, just the province’s second success in their last six home PRO12 fixtures.
Munster open their European Champions Cup campaign against the Sale Sharks at AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday, October 18 at 1pm.
SCORERS: Munster: Andrew Smith try, JJ Hanrahan four pens. Scarlets: Rhys Priestland pen, drop goal.
MUNSTER: Johne Murphy; Gerhard van den Heever, Andrew Smith, Ivan Dineen, Simon Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; David Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne, BJ Botha, David Foley, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Ronan O’Mahony.
SCARLETS: Liam Williams; Harry Robinson, Gareth Owen, Scott Williams (capt), Kristian Phillips; Rhys Priestland, Aled Davies; Phil John, Kirby Myhill, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Johan Snyman, Aaron Shingler, John Barclay, Rory Pitman. Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Rob Evans, Samson Lee, George Earle, James Davies, Rhodri Williams, Steven Shingler, Michael Tagicakibau
REFEREE: Claudio Blessano (Italy)