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Page last updated at 21:00 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Scarlets 16-18 Munster

Scarlets (3) 16
Try: Penalty Con: Priestland Pens: Priestland 3

Munster (15) 18
Tries: Dowling, Leamey Con: O'Gara Pens: O'Gara 2

Iestyn Thomas tackles Munster's Mick O'Driscoll
Iestyn Thomas tackles Munster's Mick O'Driscoll

Munster survived a late fightback to prevent the Scarlets from starting life at their new Parc Y Scarlets home with a win.

A penalty try converted by Rhys Priestland with five minutes to go looked to have given the hosts an unlikely win in a frantic finish.

But Deacon Manu's needless push in the face set up Ronan O'Gara to kick a last minute penalty.

Ian Dowling and Denis Leamy's first half tries gave Munster the advantage.

It took just four minutes for the visitors to claim the first points at the new stadium.

Vernon Cooper was penalised for coming in from the side and it left an easy kick in front of the posts for O'Gara.

Priestland had the chance to get the Scarlets level but dragged his first penalty attempt wide.

He made amends, though, on 21 minutes after Munster centre Lifeimi Mafi was yellow-carded for lying on the wrong side of the tackle.

But Munster opened up a five-point lead nine minutes before the break when the Scarlets were caught sleeping.

A quick tap penalty saw Niall Ronan free wing Dowling who cut inside and went over.

Morgan Stoddard, released by the Wales squad, did rescue the Scarlets moments later racing from the far wing to beat Dowling to a loose ball near the try-line.

But the Magners League leaders showed their strength and got a deserved second try.

The Munster pack drove the Scarlets off the scrum and Leamy was able to pick up the ball and claim the night's second try which O'Gara converted for a 15-3 lead.


Scarlets had to do something in the second half and it took two minutes for Priestland to claw back three points.

They did try to inject some pace in the game, but found themselves up against a well-organised Munster defence and victims of their own unforced errors.

Priestland did pull them back to within a converted try of taking the lead with a penalty after Leamy was caught offside.

And Scarlets enjoyed more of the possession without really punishing their visitors.

But the game suddenly burst into life in the last seven minutes.

First Munster were again reduced to 14 as Donncha O'Callaghan was yellow-carded for preventing a quick penalty.

And then Scarlets thought they had stolen the victory with five minutes remaining, winning a penalty try after Munster's front row popped up in the scrum.

But Deacon Manu gave a needless penalty from the restart for a shove in the face and O'Gara sealed the win for Munster.

Ceiron Thomas had the chance to change that in the closing stages, but his drop-goal attempt was charged down and the Scarlets had to settle for a losing bonus point.

A further blow for the Scarlets was the loss of prop Kees Meeuws to an Achilles injury.

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies:
"We gave them a good start and fought back well in the second half and got our just rewards.

"Unfortunately there was a key moment from the kick-off which we got wrong and lost the game.

"I'm fed up of coming second best and losing gloriously.

"I'm just hugely frustrated. The game was there for us, we won the game and lost it again."

Munster match-winner Ronan O'Gara:
"Llanelli have a fighting spirit and came back hard on us and we were lucky to get another penalty.

"We are happy enough to get out of here with four points.

"It was rusty, but we won and that's the main thing."

Scarlets: Stoddart, Daniel, King, G. Evans, Davies, Priestlend, Martens, I. Thomas, Owen, Meeuws, Cooper, Day, N. Thomas, Easterby, Lyons.
Replacements: C. Thomas for G. Evans (73), Cattle for Martens (58), John for I. Thomas (73), Schwalger for Owen (58), Manu for Meeuws (40), Edwards for N. Thomas (73).
Not Used: McCusker.

Munster: Warwick, Howlett, Earls, Mafi, Dowling, O'Gara, O'Leary, Horan, Sheahan, Buckley, O'Callaghan, O'Driscoll, Ryan, Ronan, Leamy.
Replacements: Pucciariello for Horan (65), Fogarty for Sheahan (60), Coughlan for Leamy (73).
Not Used: O'Sullivan, Stringer, Murphy, Horgan.

Att: 8,436

Ref: J Jones (RFU).

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see also
Magners Celtic League 2008/9
11 Aug 08 |  Rugby Union
Magners League table
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Celtic rugby archive
07 Jul 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales
BBC Sport NI coverage
05 Nov 08 |  Northern Ireland
BBC Scotland programme guide
26 Jul 09 |  Scotland

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