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Munster’s Musgrave Mission

November 25, 2012 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Munster make their first RaboDirect PRO12 entry of the season to Musgrave Park with a top of the table clash against Simon Easterby’s Scarlets (5.15).

Munster went into this weekend in fourth place in the table but start the day in fifth thanks to Leinster's gutsy win over second placed  Glasgow Warriors – who Munster face next – at Scotstoun last Friday night.

No matter what happens this evening they can't dis-improve their League position but even at this stage of the season, with no let-up from front runners Ulster, it already looks like five possibly six teams chasing three play off spots.

But besides that Rob Penney will be keen to get a performance out of his squad in front of his home town crowd.

A 24-18 win at the Arms Park last time out saved a possible three on the bounce away defeats and now they're looking for three in a row against a Scarlets side who in turn are charging towards four successive wins.

Any side coached by Simon Easterby will be abrasive up front and allied to this, Scarlets have a propensity to go wide at every possible opportunity so Munster's rearguard action will be pivotal to the outcome of this contest.

They welcome back Niall Ronan who has been sidelines effectively for nine months, Wian du Preez whose last start was at the start of October and James Downey who last played against Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup game last month.

Injury international duty and squad rotation means there are six changes from the side that started against the Blues but on the flip side Penney has a particularly strong looking bench that includes JJ Hanrahan and newcomer CJ Stander who is certain to make an appearance at some stage of the evening.

Tickets will be available for purchase this evening at the ground.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, C Laulala, J Downey, L O'Dea; I Keatley, D Williams; W du Preez, M Sherry, S Archer; I Nagle, B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, N Ronan, P Butler. Replacements: D Varley, M Horan, BJ Botha, D Foley, CJ Stander, P Stringer,  JJ Hanrahan, D Hurley.

Scarlets: M Stoddart; N Reynolds, G Maule, G Owen, A Fenby; A Thomas, G Davies; P John, E Phillips, J Adriaanse, J Ball, R Kelly, G Earle, J Edwards capt, C Price. Replacements: K Myhill, S Hopkins, S Lee, J Snyman, D Thomas, R Williams, D Newton, AWarren.

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Munster Salvage Something

November 25, 2012 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

An injury time penalty from replacement JJ Hanrahan saw Munster salvage a point in this 13-6 RaboDirect PRO12 defeat to Scarlets in absolutely awful conditions in front of a sodden and frozen 6000+ crowd at Musgrave Park.

And it was a consolation that didn't look likely to accrue after Andy Fenby's 69th minute try converted by Aled Thomas was followed by two subsequent penalty awards that Thomas missed.

However to their credit, Munster countered after Thomas' 76th minute miss to earn themselves the penalty and after a lengthy enough discussion, Hanrahan went for his kick and landed it to earn the bonus.

Munster had the advantage of the elements in the opening half but by their own admission squandered one or two try scoring chances and went into the break on level pegging, three points apiece. They were unfortunate just before the break to have a try ruled out by the TMO and this was to prove decisive.

They also had one or two opportunities in the second half but by this stage there was a strong wing blowing heavy freezing rain into their faces and the visitors held the upper hand for long periods of the half.

Thomas was badly wide from nearly in front of the posts with a penalty in the 42nd minute and shortly after was narrowly wide with a drop goal effort but then edged his side in front in the 66th minute and added the conversion to Fenby's try three minutes later.

Scarlets enjoyed most of the territorial advantage in that final quarter but Munster will regret not getting more out of a superb Felix Jones break from deep inside his own half that took play to  a five metre scrum from the Scarlets line. They were once again penalised at the put in allowing Scarlets lift the siege.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, C Laulala, J Downey, L O'Dea; I Keatley, D Williams; W du Preez, M Sherry, S Archer; I Nagle, B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, N Ronan, P Butler. Replacements: D Varley, M Horan, BJ Botha, D Foley, CJ Stander, P Stringer,  JJ Hanrahan, D Hurley.

Scarlets: M Stoddart; N Reynolds, G Maule, G Owen, A Fenby; A Thomas, G Davies; P John, E Phillips, J Adriaanse, J Ball, R Kelly, G Earle, J Edwards capt, C Price. Replacements: K Myhill, S Hopkins, S Lee, J Snyman, D Thomas, R Williams, D Newton, AWarren.

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