Dragons v Munster Match Report
Five tries from the men in red, four of which came in the second half saw them comfortably take the try scoring bonus back to the South of Ireland with them but they didn’t have things all their own way from the off.
The first half was a tale of missed opportunities for the Dragons as they continuously put themselves into good field position with some excellent touch finders from Dorian Jones keeping Munster pinned in their own half. The home team, however, could not capitalise on their ability to find the corners with the ball being lost on numerous occasions in the opponents 22m.
The Dragons started the game well with penalties awarded within kicking distance following pressure by the home team, the first from distance hit the upright but Geraint Rhys Jones made amends shortly afterwards with the second penalty awarded slotted neatly between the uprights to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead after 5 minutes.
The Munster pack hit back soon after following a disrupted lineout deep inside the home team’s 22m, the Munster men were awarded a scrum and Robin Copeland burrowed over the try line following some typical tight play by the Munster forwards. Keatley converted to put Munster 7-3 ahead with 15 minutes played.
The Men of Gwent went into the break ahead with two more successful penalties from GR Jones making it 9-7 to give the Dragons a deserved half time lead.
The Munster coaching staff must have had a few stern words with their team at half time with a marked difference in their performance following the break. Ian Keatley, who had a poor first half by his own lofty standards, struck the first points of the second half with a penalty to regain the lead for Munster and kick start his own renaissance.
Just three minutes later the Dragons found themselves further behind following a Duncan Casey score converted by Keatley, 17-9. Keatley now was beginning to find his groove and began to boss the game from the outside half position giving the Dragons a taste of their own first half medicine by expertly keeping the home team pinned inside their own half.
Just after the hour mark a well worked try by Munster centre Andrew Smith was once again converted by Keatley to stretch the lead out to a 15 point deficit for the Dragons. The Dragons took the opportunity to cut the lead down to 12 with a penalty three minutes later to keep themselves in with a chance of a result, the scores 24-12.
Paddy Butler and Ronan O’Mahoney added two tries in the final ten minutes to put a gloss on the Munster result, with the home team struggling to find an answer to the more street wise Irish outfit. Keatley dissected the posts for both tries to maintain his 100% kicking record for the evening and give the sizeable travelling support a 38-12 victory to cheer.