Inaccurate and laboured Munster slip to defeat against Scarlets

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Dejected Munster players following the Guinness PRO14 Round 17 match between Scarlets and Munster at Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli, Wales. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile
Dejected Munster players following the Guinness PRO14 Round 17 match between Scarlets and Munster at Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli, Wales. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile

Munster slipped to second place in Conference A of the Pro14 following a below par performance in Wales that saw them suffer a 10-6 defeat to the Welsh region.

If someone told you your team would have 66% of the ball, 70% of the territory and a penalty count in the single digits (7) then you would rightly assume that your side would be picking up the win.

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Not so as Munster really struggled. Inaccurate, laboured and frustrating: three words that accurately summed up their opening 80 minutes at Parc Y Scarlets on Saturday afternoon.

Full time stats dominated by Munster but not converted to points on the scoreboard

Despite having 79% possession and 83% territory in the first half, Johann van Graan’s side trailed by 7-6 at half time with only two Bill Johnston penalties to show for their efforts.

Scarlets try coming through their only real venture to the Munster 22 when Ioan Nicholas was on the end of a slick Johnny McNicholl offload. Munster’s defence was caught slightly narrow and will know that they should have done better to snuff out the threat.

Scarlets grabbed the first score of the second half as Halfpenny knocked over a 49th minute penalty to make it a 10-6 game.

Minutes later and Munster’s Jean Kleyn crossed the line off the back of a maul but the try was but the try was ruled out after an intervention from the TMO Ian Davies, who adjudged hooker Rhys Marshall had obstructed in the lead-up to the score.

It looked a harsh call but the try was chalked off. Considering we had a TMO with such a fine attention to detail it was a mystery why a cheap shot from Tom Phillips to the head of Arno Botha in the same phase of play.

Scarlets would again find themselves under pressure following a Darren Sweetnam break that set up a useful position for Munster deep in the opposition 22. However, not for the first time Munster were woefully short of attacking accuracy and Scarlets line held firm.

Munster would get one more opportunity but a knock on would end the game. A woefully poor game that sees Munster slip to second place in Conference A, 3 points behind Glasgow who picked up a bonus point win over in Zebre.

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