Munster begin new season with win

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Updated: September 3, 2011

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Munster 20 – 12 Dragons, 7:45pm, Musgrave Park.
Jones (P) 21min
Keatley (P) 23min
Barnes (T) 26min
Keatley (C) 28min
Maifi (T) 37min
Keatley (C) 38min
Tovey (P) 39min
Tovey (P) 63min
Tovey (P) 69min
Keatley (P) 73min

Full time played

Commentary
Full time A solid first half laid the foundation for an opening day win for Munster who run out 8 points winners over the Dragons at Musgrave Park.
80min Tovey’s kick falls short and Coughlan collects and kick’s to touch.
79min Penalty goes the way of the Dragon’s and with less than a minute to go they opt to kick, a chance for a losing bonus point
78min Another Dragon’s scrum this time just inside the Munster half, Coughlan thought he had won it there..but the ref resets it. Varley is back on now.
76min Ronan knocks forward as Munster attack and the ball goes to the Dragons, scrum. 4 minutes to go.
74min Cometh the hour cometh the man.. Keatley kicks it. O’Mahony is back on too. Come on Munster lets see this one out.
72min After doing well in the scrum, Dragons give away a penalty for not releasing, Keatley to make the game safe now
70min Sherry has to come back on as the Munster win a scrum. Munster penalty and Coughlan breaks. Another scrum – chants of Munster Munster around the ground
69min Tovey adds the points to make it a 5 point game. Last three scores have all been from the Dragons
68min Varley gets a yellow card and gives away a penalty for striking a Welsh player in the face, Munster down to 13 and their lead could be down to 5 in a minute.
67min Can you hear cheer.. probably not but The bull Hayes is on great. He’s immediately into action too for the scrum. But it goes against him and Munster and Dragon’s have the the put.
66min Thomas is caught out by varley and Munster turn it over, an attempt pass out to the wing is kncoked forward by Tovey and its a Munster scrum.
65min Murphy’s up and under is collected unchallenged by a Dragon and the Welsh come forward now.
64min The ans is no although they will have another chance as Peter O’Mahoney is sent to the bin. Tovey gets the first score of the second half almost 23 minutes in.
62min Games has been a bit dull last 10 minutes or so. Very stop /start and with the subs coming on now it petering out a bit. Dragons scrum outside the Munster 22 – can they do something the liven up the game.
61min Stringer goes off for Duncan Williams, he’s had a solid game. Simon Zebo on for Denis Hurley, who will be pleased with his role in Miafi’s try.
59min Munster penalty on half way and this time Keatley finds a good touch just inside the Dragon’s 22
57min Varley on for Sherry. Dragon’s line out from half as Keatley kicks it straight out.
55min Munster down to 14 men now, missed who it was will come back to you.
53min Lovely run by Howlett but he’s tackled, the pass was on but he went alone and was surrounded by Dragon’s players.
50min Keatley’s attempts to find touch from play has been poor tonight, other than that he’s been good.
48min Munster do well to win the ball back and Keatley hits a long kick up field from penalty. Munster claim line out and are on the attack.
47min Du Preez on for Horan as Dragons have a line out in the Munster half. Bit stop start so far this half.
44min Penalty Dragons, Munster not releasing.
43min Lovely from stringer who finds touch, may not have been his intention but good none the less. Dragons line out. Won.
42min MISS!! Just wide, it was a good distance out but straight. Unlucky.
42min Straight away there’s drama as Castles gets a yellow card and now sits out the opening 10 minutes of the 2nd half. Keatley to kick.
41min We’re back for the second half and Munster kick us off.
40min The ref blows for half time and Munster will head in for the first oranges and cuppa of the new season 11 points ahead.
39min Penalty for the Dragons, soft one too. Tovey kicks it
37min TRY!!. nice move from the line out as the long one catches the Dragons out, Hurley passes to Maifi who goes over the line. Nice before half time. Keatley adds the conversion.
37min Munster clear their lines with Keatley booting a penalty down to the Welsh 10m line
35min Scrappy passage of play as Munster struggle to hold onto the ball, end with a Dragon’s put in to the scrum. Ref restarts it. Need to be careful here as its a kickable range for a penalty.
34min Munster scrum, they’ve been solid so far defensively
32min Keatley tries a short kick in to touch but it goes to Jones who boots it down field in to the Munster 22. Red Line out.
30min Murphy again goes on a lovely run, sadly he put a foot into touch. He’s been exciting with the ball in hand this evening.
28min Keatley gets the conversion – 10-3 now to Munster.
26min TRY!!!. Great run by Murphy who’s tackled but the ball gets to Barnes and he goes over for the opening try
26min Dragons on the attack now and their on the 5M line but Munster clear and then win it. They are running it now, Murphy with an amazing run.
25min Coughlan does well there to win the ball, great play. Stringer collects and kick up field before being tackled into touch.
23min Keatley makes no mistake this time and is now Munster’s top scorer so far this season, joking aside it was a good kick straight down the middle and it will help him now to be off the mark. 3-3
22min Reprieve.. Munster,from the kick off win a penalty of their own, I’m tempted to say its kickable again, actually just have so there now you know.
21min That was good. Dragons take the lead, 3-0.
21min Confidence? Jones opts to kick a penalty from just outside half way.. this will be big.
20min What a pass from Horan.. are you O’Driscoll in disguise.. sadly despite being camped on the Dragons 5 yd line, it comes to nothing and Dragons get the chance to clear via a penalty. Ref having a chat with Stringer to relax. Dragons line out – Munster the better side
16min Stringer at his terrier like best there getting the ball back by flinging a dragons forward to the ground.. Tough.
14min First chance for Keatley and he misses it.. don;t won’t help his confidence
13min Good play by Holland, Keatley and Coughlan who all make up good yards. Advantage to Munster ends with a kickable penalty.
12min Nice!! Munster turn it over and Stringer passes to Keatley who blasts it down the park. A touch would have been nice but Dragons kick to touch on half way and its a red line out
11min good take in the line out by the Welsh side, they going through the phases now, just outside the Munster 22
10min Scrum is restarted and this time the ref gives the penalty to the Dragons
9min Decent move, fast ball from stringer but Barnes knocks it forward and its a Dragon’s scrum
8min Stefan Jones has an attempt at a grubber but its deflected out for a line out
7min Scrum to Dragon’s just ouside the Munster 22. Again goo scrummaging and Munster have the penalty, taking quickly
6min Another line out on half way, again to the Dragon’s.
3min Good solid scrum, Stringer gets the ball out to Keatley who puts too much on his pass and the chance goes abegging, Line out the Dragons. Half way.
2min An attempty at a back handed pass fails and Munster have the put in
2min The Dragons looks keen to run thankfully a good turnover by Munster who break through Hurley, his kick goes to a Dragon and they come again
1min Munster’s season begins as the Dragons tip off and straight its a scrum for the Dragon’s as Holland makes a nervy start
0min The Dragon’s out on the pitch first but here come Munster now to a big cheer
0min We’re just minutes from kick off, lovely evening for Rugby down here in Cork
0min Defending champions Munster open their quest to retain their newly RaboDirect Pro 12 title when they face the Newport Gwent Dragon’s in Musgrave Park on Saturday night at 7.45pm.

Teams:
Munster: J Murphy; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, D Hurley; I Keatley, P Stringer; M Horan, M Sherry, S Archer; B Holland, M O’Driscoll; P O’Mahony capt, N Ronan, J Coughlan.

Replacements: D Varley, W Du Preez, J Hayes, D Foley, T O’Donnell, D Williams, S Deasy, S Zebo.

Preview:
Defending champions Munster open their quest to retain their newly RaboDirect Pro 12 title when they face the Newport Gwent Dragon’s in Musgrave Park on saturday night at 7.45pm.

After their failures in the Heineken cup, Munster regrouped to end the season in stunning fashion recording 10 straight win’s that culminated in them winning the Grand Final

Munster coach Tony Gahan will be hoping that his side can bring that form and confidence into the new season, the Australian will have history on his side as he looks to get to early points on the board as in three season’s that Munster have opened at home they have never lost and they haven’t lost Celtic League game in Musgrave Park since May 2008.

Coupled with that Munster have a strong home record against their visitors, in fact since the formation of the Dragon’s back in 2003, the men in red have only lost once at home, a 16-6 loss at Thomond Park in 2004.

That was the last time that the Welsh side did the double over Munster and each season since Munster have claimed at least one win, their 50-6 win in 2008 representing their biggest ever points tally against Darren Edwards charges. In 16 league meeting’s to date, Munster have won 10 games with the Dragon’s winning six.

Last season Munster lost 20-06 away to the Dragons before recording an impressive 38-17 win at Musgrave Park, Doug Howlett bagging two tries that day with Johne Murphy also getting on the score sheet.

Despite missing a number of players due to the Rugby World Cup, Gahan, who will name his first competitive team of the season on Friday, has selected a strong and experienced 28 man squad for the opener with the likes of John Hayes, Marcus Horan, Johne Murphy, Doug Howlett, Niall Ronan, Mike O’Driscoll and Lifeimi Maifi all set to be involved.

Summer signing Ian Keatley should get his first taste of competitive action in a red shirt while Danny Barnes and Simon Zebo who both finished last season with impressive fashion will be hoping to continue that form in to the new season.

Gahan will be counting the impact of Ireland’s poor form summer series as he looks set not only to rebuild the confidence of O’Leary and less so Hayes but also the loss of David Wallace and Felix Jones, both of whom face lenghty spells on the sidelines and miss important Heineken cup fixtures.

While Munster will be missing their International stars, the Dragons themselves are feeling the effects of the World cup as they are shorn of the services of five players with Loose forwards Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau, lock Luke Charteris, hooker Lloyd Burns and wing Aled Brew all set for New Zealand.

Wayne Evans returns to the squad after recovering from a shoulder injury sustained against Russia in pre season however despite returning from injury this game will come too soon for Lewis Evans.

Munster Squad: S Scanlon, J Murphy, D Howlett, D Hurley, S Zebo, L Mafi, D Barnes, S Deasy, I Keatley, D Williams, P Stringer, T O’Leary, M Horan, W du Preez, D Varley, M Sherry, S Archer, J Hayes, P Borlase, D Foley, M O’Driscoll, I Nagle, B Holland, D O’Callaghan, P O’Mahony, T O’Donnell, N Ronan, J Coughlan.

Dragons squad: M Thomas, S Jones, A Hughes, M Poole, P Leach,, T Riley, A Smith, J Tovey, W Evans, J Bedford, P Price, T Willis (captain), R Buckley, N Williams, D Way, B Castle, A Jones, J Groves, R Sidoli, A Coombs, G Thomas, H Ellis, T Brown

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