Scarlets ill-discipline punished by Munster at Thomond Park

Rob Lloyd News

Scarlets were left to rue their ill-discipline as they went down to a 29-10 defeat to Conference B play-off rivals Munster at a wet and windy Thomond Park.

The visitors were reduced to 14 men following the dismissal of second row Sam Lousi just before half-time, then lost replacement Tevita Ratuva to the sin-bin late in the second half.

Brad Mooar’s side had threatened a comeback after the break when substitute prop Javan Sebastian drove over for his first try in a Scarlets jersey, but Munster finished strongly to secure a try bonus at the death.

Scarlets lost hooker Taylor Davies to an injury inside two minutes, but didn’t allow it to affect their early momentum.

With Wales international Aaron Shingler to the fore, the visitors started the contest strongly and were rewarded with a ninth-minute penalty from the boot of fly-half Dan Jones.

Two brilliant line-out steals from Shingler kept Munster at bay, but the home side were able to level matters with a simple penalty from fly-half JJ Hanrahan on 24 minutes.

The Munster pack grew more into the game as the half wore on and after the Scarlets pack had halted a dangerous drive on their line, both sets of forwards fronted up.

Scarlets second row Lousi was spotted swinging a punch at an opponent and referee Mike Adamson showed the Tongan international a red card.

From the ensuing penalty, Munster went for the drive again and this time young flanker Jack O’Sullivan got the touch down. Hanrahan converted and Munster led 10-3 at the break.

Angus O’Brien was just wide with a longe-range penalty attempt shortly after the restart, but it was Munster who extended their lead when experienced lock Billy Holland found space on the blindside to sneak over.

Trailing 15-3, the 14-man Scarlets were up against it, but to their credit, they battled their way back into the contest with a close-range effort from replacement tight-head Sebastian on the hour mark.

A break from scrum-half Jonathan Evans had put his side on the front foot, then after a series of drives and attacking scrums, Scarlets eventually found a way over.

Jones’s conversion reduced the deficit to just five points, but when Ratuva was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle with 10 minutes remaining, Munster went for the jugular.

Replacement Gavin Coombes went over from short distance and three minutes into stoppage time he crossed again to clinch a maximum haul for the Irish province.

The defeat sees the Scarlets remain in third spot in the Conference B table as Guinness PRO14 action takes a break for a couple of weeks.

Munster – tries: J. O’Sullivan, B. Holland, G.Coombes (2). Cons: JJ. Hanrahan (3). Pen: Hanrahan.

Scarlets – try: J. Sebastian. Con: D. Jones. Pen: Jones.