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Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Sunday, 14 September 2008 20:50 UK

Munster 50-6 Dragons

Dragons fly-half Shaun Connor is tackled by Keith Earls
Dragons fly-half Shaun Connor is tackled by Keith Earls

Munster (19) 50
Tries: Earls (3), Warwick (2), Howlett (2)
Cons: Warwick (6)
Pens: Warwick

Dragons (3) 6
Pens: Arlidge (2)

Keith Earls claimed a try hat-trick as Munster hammered the Dragons in the Magners League game at Musgrave Park.

The European champions led 19-3 at half-time after two touchdowns from the full-back and one from Paul Warwick.

Earls completed his treble soon after the restart and Warwick added his second try before Doug Howlett went over twice late in the game.

James Arlidge kicked two penalties for the Dragons, who have now lost all three of their opening league matches.

Munster also ran seven tries past the Dragons when the sides met in Cork last November.

Arlidge, who slotted in at full-back with Shaun Connor at number 10, managed to kick the Welsh region into a fourth-minute lead.

But that was as good as it really got for Paul Turner's men.

Two minutes later, incisive running from David Wallace and Ian Dowling helped Earls convert a left wing overlap for his first try.

Warwick converted and though the Dragons had some decent territory, they lacked the guile required to prise open the Munster defence.

A real contender for try of the season followed in the 20th minute when Warwick flung a crossfield kick out to Dowling.

The ball was beautifully spun through the hands of Barry Murphy, Earls, Lifeimi Mafi and Mick O'Driscoll before Warwick cantered in under the posts for a seven-pointer.

Earls made sure he grabbed the headlines with a stunning individual try, four minutes later.

Showing supreme confidence, he dummied a pass to Dowling, kicked forward on the left wing and scooped it up on the bounce with his right foot before gleefully touching down.

Trailing by 16 points at the break, the Dragons' best moves were being spoiled by knock-ons but Arlidge did keep them in the game with a 46th-minute penalty.

However, the hosts then chalked up their bonus point score as Earls speared through a gap on the left and had the gas to make the line.

Adam Jones was thwarted after the Dragons had set up a five-metre line-out and with both Frankie Sheahan and Gethin Robinson sin-binned for separate incidents, the game lulled.

A Warwick penalty goal roused Munster back to life and the fly-half was soon over the whitewash again after a storming intercept run by John O'Sullivan.

The demolition job was completed by a late Howlett brace.

A powerful hand-off of Richard Fussell helped Howlett scoot under the posts and he raced over in the right corner, at the death, with Warwick's conversion taking his personal tally to 25 points.

Munster: K Earls; D Howlett, B Murphy, L Mafi, I Dowling; P Warwick, T O'Leary; F Pucciariello, F Sheahan, T Buckley, D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll (capt), D Ryan, J O'Sullivan, D Wallace.
Replacements: M Horan, J Flannery, P O'Connell, J Melck, P Stringer, R O'Gara, Denis Hurley.

Dragons: James Arlidge; Rory Sidey, Rhodri Gomer Davies, Ashley Smith, Tal Selley; Shaun Connor, Wayne Evans; Hugh Gustafson, Tom Willis (capt), Rhys Thomas, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate, Jamie Ringer, Grant Webb.
Replacements: Steve Jones, Adam Black, Gethin Robinson, Adam Brown, Joe Bearman, Richard Fussell, Rob Lewis.

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