WATCH: Clinical Munster score bonus point win over Dragons in PRO14

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, Thomond Park

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, Thomond Park

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Clincial Munster score bonus point win over Dragons in PRO14

Man of the Match Shane Daly touches down for Munster in their bonus point win over Dragons in the Guinness Pro14 at Thomond Park on Sa

MUNSTER opened their Guinness PRO14 campaign with a clinical 39-9 bonus point win over Dragons before an official attendance of 10,878 on a filthy wet afternoon at Thomond Park.

Munster, minus their 12 Irish internationals on World Cup duty with Ireland, scored three first half tries to lead 22-6 at half-time.

Powerful number eight Arno Botha, Man of the Match Shane Daly and flanker Jack O'Donoghue all dotted down in the opening half. 

Munster took full advantage of the sin-binning of Dragons hooker Richard Hibbard to score 12 points in that opening half when he was off the pitch.

The home side dotted down twice more in the second half through Tyler Bleyendaal, who bagged the bonus point try on the hour mark, and replacement hooker Diarmuid Barron late on to seal a commanding success.

It was Garryowen hooker Barron's first ever competitive try for Munster.

James Cronin featured in the PRO14 for the first time since November after recovering from injury.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan will be pleased to see James Cronin feature in the PRO14 for the first time since November after recovering from injury when coming off the bench in the second half.

Saturday's bonus point victory also saw Munster hand competitive debuts to South African prop Keynan Knox, powerful number eight Jack O’Sullivan and scrum-half Nick McCarthy who arrived from Leinster during the summer months.

The win helped Munster extend their unbeaten home record at Thomond Park, the last time Johann van Graan's charges were beaten at the ground in any tournament was against Leinster on St Stephen’s Day 2017.

In contrast, the Dragons have not won on the road in the PRO14 since a trip to Treviso in March 2015 whilst their
most recent victory away to an Irish province was over Leinster at the RDS Arena in February 2015.

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Rory Scannell, Tyler Bleyendaal, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Nick McCarthy; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer; Fineen Wycherley, Billy Holland (C); Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, Arno Botha. Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, James Cronin, Keynan Knox, Darren O’Shea, Chris Cloete, Alby Mathewson, Liam Coombes, Jack O’Sullivan.

DRAGONS: Jordan Williams; Ashton Hewitt, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Owen Jenkins; Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams (C); Brok Harris, Richard Hibbard, Leon Brown; Joe Davies, Matthew Screech; Huw Taylor, Ollie Griffiths, Lewis Evans. Replacements: Ellis Shipp, Ryan Bevington, Lloyd Fairbrother, Max Williams, Taine Basham, Tavis Knoyle, Jacob Botica, Tyler Morgan.