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Joey Carbery impresses in first start for 14 months as Munster defeat Scarlets

By PA

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Joey Carbery looks to be finding form at just the right time after impressing in Munster’s 28-10 bonus point win over Scarlets at Thomond Park.

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Carbery’s comeback from injury continued with his first start since January 2020, and the Ireland fly-half caught the eye just a fortnight out from the Guinness PRO14 final.

Munster booked their final place last week and confidently built a 21-3 half-time lead here thanks to tries from Gavin Coombes, Shane Daly and Niall Scannell.

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Angus O’Brien kicked a lone penalty for Scarlets, who had come in search of a win to guarantee Champions Cup rugby next season.

A yellow card for Scarlets replacement Tevita Ratuva preceded Kevin O’Byrne’s 58th-minute bonus point effort. There were 82 minutes on the clock when Steff Evans scored the visitors’ consolation try.

Munster were first to threaten in wet and windy conditions, although Johnny McNicholl was alert to the dangerous kick from Nick McCarthy.

Dane Blacker’s brilliant sidestepping run promised much, yet Scarlets’ follow-up was foiled by a turnover penalty won by James Cronin.

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The breakthrough came in the 19th minute when Coombes powered over for his ninth try of the season having shown terrific hands from the initial scrum.

Carbery’s conversion was soon followed by a penalty from O’Brien, punishing a block by Daly to make it 7-3.

The Munster winger made amends just a few minutes later, trailing Carbery’s silky run from a kick return and evading Tyler Morgan’s tackle to score.

A worrying injury for Fineen Wycherley, who was stretchered off, brought Academy back rower Alex Kendellen on for his Munster debut.

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Scarlets paid the price for a series of penalties when the returning Aaron Shingler was sin-binned for an early challenge on a lineout lifter.

In the Wales international’s absence, Munster hooker Scannell plunged over from a dominant maul just before the break. Carbery expertly converted from out wide.

Current Wales centre Johnny Williams replaced the injured McNicholl, and in a scrappy third quarter, Scarlets’ set-piece struggles continued with Munster winning a scrum against the head.

Ratuva then saw yellow for collapsing a Munster maul, with the subsequent drive putting O’Byrne over. The conversion followed from Carbery, who was replaced on the hour mark with his night’s work finished.

Although frustrated by Munster’s maul defence, Scarlets were able to profit from Cronin’s late sin-binning. Evans tidied up a loose pass and took a return offload from Sam Lousi to go over. O’Brien converted from the left touchline.

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Joey Carbery impresses in first start for 14 months as Munster defeat Scarlets

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