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Dreadful Dragons have no answers as Munster run in ten tries

By PA
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Munster were in complete control as they handed the Dragons a ten-try 64-3 defeat in the United Rugby Championship at Thomond Park. The home side sauntered into a 28-3 half-time lead, with young fly-half Jack Crowley converting tries from Craig Casey (two), captain Jack O’Donoghue and Chris Cloete. Sam Davies’ 16th-minute penalty proved to be the Welsh region’s only score on a deflating night for Dean Ryan’s men.

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With their bonus point secured by the 36th minute, Munster cruised home with further scores from Simon Zebo, Chris Farrell, Shane Daly, Cloete, replacement John Hodnett and O’Donoghue.

Ollie Griffiths got over the ball to break up Munster’s early momentum, but scrum-half Casey duly crossed in the ninth minute, breaking to the blindside of a maul and shrugging off Davies’ attempted tackle.

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The Dragons made good ground in response, Davies knocking over a close-range penalty before their own indiscipline brought Munster back into try-scoring range. Casey, who came off the Ireland bench last Sunday in the Guinness Six Nations win over Italy, squeezed in under Joe Maksymiw to complete his brace in the 22nd minute, and it got worse for the Dragons straight from the restart.

O’Donoghue evaded Aneurin Owen’s tap tackle to finish off a terrific team score from deep, with Crowley converting to make it 21-3. As the interval approached, Crowley’s inviting pass had John Ryan charging up into the visitors’ 22. Farrell then injected further pace, freeing up flanker Cloete to go over out wide.

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Crowley nailed the difficult conversion for good measure, the Dragons’ cause not helped by a miscued lineout and centre Owen’s injury-enforced departure. A forward pass denied Mike Haley a try on the resumption, but Zebo had a simple run-in after Casey’s quickly-taken penalty. Crowley missed the conversion and his opposite number Davies fluffed the restart, Haley hoovering it up to step inside Davies and feed Farrell for a muscular finish to the right of the posts.

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Crisp offloading from Crowley, Gavin Coombes and Haley sent Daly over, and Casey’s whizzing pass soon handed Cloete his second of the night. Ben Healy converted Munster’s closing efforts from fellow replacement Hodnett, who finished off a slick move off a lineout, and O’Donoghue, who enjoyed another chance to stretch his legs.

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