Munster made it back to back interpro wins with a hard fought 31-42 bonus point win over Connacht at the Sportsground this evening.
The win moves Johann van Graan’s side to the Top of Conference A for the first time since the opening weeks of the season after Glasgow’s slip up in Treviso opened the door.
After a decent opening, Arno Botha won’t won’t to see Connacht’s first try as the South African was robbed by Tom Farrell in contact and the Connacht centre cantered home for the first try of the game with Carty adding the extras.
Munster responded with a good spell of possession and territory with their line out and maul looking to be in the ascendancy. With the Connacht backline under pressure, some good hands from Earls put Peter O’Mahony through the gap. Carbery slotted the extras to level the game.
Seven minutes later and Munster would hit the front with Dan Goggin powering over from close range following a crisp flat pass from Alby Mathewson. Carbery again converted and Munster led the hosts 14-7.
Connacht needed a response and when Peter O’Mahony was penalised at the ruck, Jack Carty slotted a fine long range kick to reduce the deficit to just four points heading in at the break.
Johann van Graan would have been pleased with his side’s return from the opening 40 minutes but he would have been furious with the opening minute of the first half when a poorly contested kick chase eventually resulted in a try for Connacht through Cian Kelleher.
Connacht were enjoying a really good spell of territory and possession and had Munster under serious pressure under their own posts but a silly penalty for picking the ball out of the ruck while still being in the ruck ended their chances. Munster cleared.
An Earls, Farrell Wootton offloading combination saw Munster punch a huge hole on the Connacht defence. Two phases later and Alby Mathewson floated a beautiful ball over the top of the Connacht defenders for Goggin to claim his second try of the game.
Carbery added a conversion from out on the left touchline to swing the game 21-17 in Munster’s favour. Minutes later and he would exes the gap to 24-17 with a penalty as Connacht fell foul of the referee at the ruck.
The home side were under serious pressure now and following a sublime Carbery kick in behind the defence, Earls chased down the Connacht defender, forced him into touch and gave Munster another excellent attacking platform.
Scannell found his jumper, Murray swung the ball wide to Bleyendaal who laid it off to Carbery. The out half stepped
The home side were 14 points down with 7 minutes remaining and a slick offload from the base of a ruck put Jack Carty under the posts for a seven pointer to make it Connacht 24-31 Munster following the conversion.
Connacht would have a few half chances to stick back but it never materialised as Johann van Graan’s side hung on to claim a valuable bonus point win and move top of Conference A.