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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 January, 2005, 19:15 GMT
Scarlets 32-17 Munster
CELTIC LEAGUE
Scarlets centre Salesi Finau breaks through Ronan O'Gara's attempted tackle
Scarlets (15) 32
Tries: Watkins, Powell, Havili, Wyatt
Cons: Bowen (3)
Pens: Bowen (2)
Munster (10) 17
Tries: Stringer, Quinlan
Cons: O'Gara (2)
Pens: O'Gara
Att: 7,530
Llanelli Scarlets produced one of their best displays of the season to clinch a bonus-point win at Stradey Park.

Matthew Watkins and Andy Powell crossed in the first half, but a Peter Stringer try and a conversion and a penalty from Ronan O'Gara kept Munster in touch.

Alan Quinlan's try put the visitors ahead again just after the break, but the Scarlets then found an extra gear.

Aisea Havili scored a breakaway try before Chris Wyatt outpaced full-back Christian Cullen to make the game safe.

Bowen confidently slotted over his first penalty at goal to give the Scarlets a fourth minute lead, but the home side were fortunate not to concede a try a minute later.

Centre Shaun Payne made the incisive break from Ronan O'Gara's flat pass, Christian Cullen took the ball on from an inside switch but the former All Black was caught just short of the line by the cover defence and knocked the ball on.

But the Irishmen were far more ruthless on 16 minutes as Stringer crossed.

A lineout five meters out provided the perfect attacking platform, and Stringer's dummy pass from the resulting ruck was bought by prop John Davies and created the gap for the scrum-half to dive over.

Stringer's Ireland halfback partner Ronan O'Gara added the conversion.

Falling behind spurred the home side into life as the forwards took the game to their opponents.

Watkins' try on the half hour owed much to a couple of forward drives, notably from Davies and Simon Easterby, as the centre had the simple task of crossing from a few yards out.

O'Gara's penalty put Munster 10-8 ahead as half-time approached, but Powell's try a minute later ensured the Scarlets went into the break with a spring in their step.

Everyone played with their hearts on their sleeves and the backs got the chance to show their talents
Scarlets prop John Davies

Gavin Thomas was the creator as he straightened his cross-field run to break the defensive line, fed Powell on the inside and the number eight had enough pace over 15 yards to reach the line for a try that Bowen converted.

Munster hit back seven minutes after the break, but there was a suspicion of a forward pass in the build-up to Quinlan's try.

O'Gara's inside pass to Jason Holland infuriated the home fans, but the centre did not hesitate to burst towards the posts and then passes on for Quinlan to touchdown.

The lead lasted just three minutes as the Scarlets made the most of poor Munster handling to score their third try.

A simple pass was dropped as the Irishmen attacked the right wing, Bowen quickly fed Havili and the winger beat Stringer for pace to touchdown.

Bowen converted and added a penalty soon after to take the Scarlets 25-17 ahead.

Munster threw caution to the wind as they looked for a way back, but an over ambitious long pass 10 minutes from time proved to be their downfall.

Wyatt plucked the ball from the air inside his own half and showed Cullen a clean pair of heels to score.

Bowen's third conversion ended the scoring in a pulsating encounter.


Scarlets: G Evans; A Havili, M Watkins, S Finau, T Selley; G Bowen, M Phillips; P John, R McBryde, J Davies, V Cooper, C Wyatt, S Easterby (capt), G Thomas, A Powell.
Replacements: D Maddocks, M Rees, D Duley, J Mills, C McDonald, A Thomas, B Davies.

Munster: C Cullen; P Devlin, S Payne, J Holland, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, A Quinlan, D Leamy, A Foley (capt).
Replacements: G McIlwham, F Roche, , T Hogan, D Wallace, E Reddan, M Mullins, M Lawlor.

Referee: Andy Ireland (Scotland)




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