Scintillating Scarlets trounce Munster to claim Pro12 glory
Another sensational first-half performance enabled Scarlets to upset the odds once again and claim their first Pro12 title since 2004 with a thumping 46-22 victory over Munster at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
The Welsh region became the first team to win an away semi-final in the Pro12 last week, beating Leinster 27-15 despite Steff Evans’ dismissal before the interval.
On that occasion, Wayne Pivac’s side ran in three tries during the opening period to seize control, but they went one better on Saturday by crossing the whitewash four times against the league’s meanest defence to earn a whopping 29-3 lead and leave Munster stunned.
Although Tyler Bleyendaal’s converted score on the stroke of half-time gave the regular-season table-toppers a glimmer of hope, Scarlets – who began the campaign with three successive losses – never looked likely to be caught and ultimately triumphed by a record margin.
Munster put the first points on the board through Bleyendaal’s sixth-minute penalty, but were soon facing a mountain to climb.
Eye-catching scores in each corner put Scarlets in command. Liam Williams dotted down a perfectly weighted Rhys Patchell kick on the right and Evans – free to play after his red card against Leinster was rescinded – went over on the opposite flank after combining beautifully with Jonathan Davies in a break from deep.
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Tadhg Beirne then burst through some weak tackling for yet another score and, although Bleyendaal replied before the break, Scarlets were back on the front foot four minutes into the second half as Patchell landed his second penalty and fifth kick in all to put his side 32-10 up.
Munster were unable to respond and the match was over as a contest long before DTH van der Merwe – like Liam Willians, making his final Scarlets appearance – powered over on the left.
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