Monday 24 October 2016

Munster burned in Dragons' Den

Munster’s Shane Buckley in action against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade yesterday
Munster’s Shane Buckley in action against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade yesterday

Perhaps, it was just as well Leinster did not have to put the gloves on against Glasgow. It was a case of lost causes and carnage for the Irish provinces on a stormy weekend.

Munster's season is quickly spiralling out of control, as evidenced by their unacceptable 22-6 defeat to The Dragons at Rodney Parade yesterday.

There was much ado about almost nothing as Munster shared a dull, unentertaining first quarter spoiled by poor handling, lifted only by penalties from The Dragons' Dorian Jones and Munster's Rory Scannell.

The game gradually came to life. There were impressive bursts from Shane Buckley and Ronan O'Mahony as well as Irish referee Gary Conway's disallowing of a try by Simon Zebo for a double movement.

Munster full-back Lucas Amorisino fumbled the ball in the act of scoring and Zebo hammered out a 'thou shall not pass' corner flag contact into Carl Meyer.

All the while, Jones recovered the lead for the home side and Scannell put Munster back on terms again at the break.

A prolonged period of pressure yielded little gain for Dragons until Jones dropped into the pocket and banged over a 40-metre drop goal for 9-6 in the 45th minute.

It was a double-scores game from Jones next penalty for offside in the 65th minute.

Jones shaved the left upright from a second drop goal and from a third in the 75th minute. Either one would have put Munster in a deep hole.

Just reward

They eventually got their just reward when second row Rynard Landman showed fine evasion for Jones' conversion and replacement Jason Tovey's penalty to put the seal on a deserved victory.

Connacht coach Pat Lam had made it known they were operating with 16 injuries before Cardiff added their second loss (20-16) on Friday.

"It was a disappointing outcome, more in the sense of injuries," said Lam.

The Westerners had to deal with the loss of both scrum-halfs Ian Porter and Kieran Marmion one minute into the second-half, with former Ireland U20 nine Matt Healy moving back to his old spot.

"We took some pretty big knocks, so I'm proud of the way the guys hung in there.

"When you lose your two scrum halves after 42 minutes it means a bit of readjustment."

However, the biggest problem came from what appears to be a serious injury to second row Quinn Roux.

"It looks like Quinn might have broken something down around the ankle.

"It's a worry for sure; we came into this game with Cardiff with 16 injuries and it looks like now that we're going to be adding to that list."

Ulster paid a heavy toll for their 14-7 win over Edinburgh too.

Coach Les Kiss spoke about not getting too "downhearted," despite the loss of Ireland's Iain Henderson to a hamstring strain.

The damage to centre Darren Cave (shoulder), full-back Peter Nelson (foot), lock Dan Tuohy (ankle) and number eight Roger Wilson (pre-match back spasm) will further test their depth chart.

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