Dragons strike late to slay Munster
Updated: Friday, 19 Apr 2013 21:09
Newport Gwent Dragons ended a run of four straight RaboDirect Pro12 defeats but had to withstand a surge from Munster before coming out on top in a match which grew by the minute to a great finale.
It looked pretty good for the Welshmen as they lead by 12 points at the break. Outside half Steffan Jones went over for a try, with centre Ross Wardle adding another in the second-half, while full-back Tom Prydie finished the game with 17 points via five penalties and a conversion.
Jones also kicked a neat drop goal on the stroke of half-tiime as Munster walked to the changing room in trouble with only a try from number eight Paddy Butler to show for their efforts.
But tries from wing Ronan O'Mahony, replacement CJ Stander and wing Johne Murphy plus two Ian Keatley conversions after the interval put them right back in it before they succumbed despite picking up two bonus points, one for getting four tries and the other for being within seven points of the winners.
Their eyes are, though, fixed on next week's massive Heineken Cup semi-final against Clermont Auvergne and, with little resting on even bonus point victories in their last two league matches, the Irish province left a number of their first-choice men out.
It was a red letter day for the Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate with it being probably his last match for the region before a possible to France with Racing Metro.
And, in the first half, the home side, with two members of Wales' Six Nations Championships squad - Toby Faletau and Andrew Coombs - in the starting line-up, went well ahead as they looked for only their sixth league win of the season.
They were 19-5 up at the break as Munster mistakes in kickable areas gave Prydie the chance to pile on the points.
Prydie landed the first of his three penalties and his solitary conversion after 13 minutes before Munster caught the home side napping to grab the opening try.
Outside-half Keatley was in possession 30 metres out from the Dragons line and put a long cross-kick to the corner which bounced inside the try zone. Under pressure, wing Tonderai Chavhanga fumbled the crucial take for Butler, chasing up on right, to seize the opportunity.
The lead lasted barely a minute after Keatley missed the conversion. Prydie booted his side into a one-point lead before Jones rounded off a great attack by the Welshmen for a converted try.
It saw a kick ahead on the left defy the grasp of Chavhanga but land in the hands of centre Ross Wardle who cut inside and gave Jones the easy task of touching down under the posts.
Munster's misery continued when Butler was sent to the sin-bin for ten minutes after killing the ball at a ruck, and was further enhanced via Prydie's third penalty and Jones' drop goal
It looked like same again when the teams came out as Prydie popped over his fourth penalty but the Irishmen fought back to set-up an exciting final twenty minutes.
They strung some decent play together and battered the home side onto their line. Only stout defence kept them out until a flashing move across the backs, involving Duncan Williams, Keatley and Murphy put O'Mahony in on the right.
A bulldozing try from Stander, converted by Keatley, closed the gap and Munster took the lead - and their four-try bonus point - when ex-Leicester wing Murphy went over which, with Keatley's conversion, put the Irishmen into the lead.
But a great dash in the dying moments from Wardle regained the lead and Prydie's fifth penalty put them six points ahead which, despite a late charge from Munster, was enough.