Scarlets 13-43 Munster: Dwayne Peel’s team beaten by understaffed visitors in sobering afternoon
The Scarlets were beaten 43-13 by an understaffed Munster team at Parc y Scarlets on Sunday afternoon.
It was 80 sobering minutes for new boss Dwayne Peel, who saw his team comfortably finish second.
Munster made 11 changes to his squad which beat the Stormers last week and was without star players Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony, Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Joey Carbery.
The visitors started the fastest and confirmed some dominance. A 50:22 sweep from opening half Ben Healy put his side in position before the forwards got down to business.
No.8 Jack O’Sullivan cut a smart angle to catch Ken Owens off guard and gallop under the sticks after five minutes. Healy reversed the conversion, then followed it with a penalty after his counterpart Sam Costelow missed his own three-point shot.
The hosts then appeared to have scored a blistering try, but TMO spotted a scuffle in the preparation before Costelow was then on target with a 16th-minute penalty.
Munster extended their lead mid-halftime, taking advantage of the Scarlets’ duller defense. Visiting winger Calvin Nash sprinkled Welsh international Evans into the five-yard channel before shooting the last man and sending Liam Coombes for their team’s second score. Healy converts.
The hosts then lost center Scott Williams, who suffered a blow to the face in a blackout and never returned, which will worry Wales boss Wayne Pivac, who names his fall squad in the next days.
Dwayne Peel’s team resumed their way into the game at the half hour mark, however, when a chance bounce of the ball saw them land in Costelow’s arms. He burst in behind and gave a clever kick to the posts for Johnny McNicholl to rush in and score.
The No.10 Scarlets converted and then added a penalty to reduce the deficit to just four points but the visitors struck a hammer just before the break.
A lavish slash pass from Healy beat Gareth Davies and winger Evans to find speedster Nash, who raced around the corner.
The conversion was missed but Munster led 22-13 at the break.
Things really took a turn for the worse in the second half, with the Scarlets’ defense now looking like a brittle sieve.
The bonus point score arrived just four minutes after the start of half-time and there was an air of inevitability about it. The penalty kick was taken in the corner and Munster went to his power play, with loose header pillar Jeremy Loughman making his way at close range.
The hosts then enjoyed a 10-minute spell but barely made a dent before Munster erupted with Jack O’Donoghue marauding through midfield before taking the lead for Coombes to win his second of the afternoon.
By now, the Scarlets were in disarray.
Jonathan Davies picked up a loose ball and threw a wild pass on Tom Rogers. The hosts then had to retreat to retrieve the ball as Munster flooded and it ended with the young winger being trapped behind his own line.
One phase after scrum five, man of the match Chris Cloete roamed with relative ease and Healy reversed his fifth conversion of the afternoon.
Fortunately, there was no score in the last quarter and the final deficit was 30 points. In truth, the Scarlets were fortunate that the margin was not greater.
Tests: Johnny McNicholl (28)
The inconvenients: Sam Costelow (29)
Pens: Sam Costelow (16, 33)
Tests: Jack O’Sullivan (3), Liam Coombes (22, 58), Calvin Nash (35), Jeremy Loughman (43), Chris Cloete (61).
The inconvenients: Ben Healy (4, 24, 44, 59, 63)
Pens: Ben Healy (10)