Munster 38-10 Ulster: Physical hosts secure second straight inter-provincial win

British and Irish Lion Conor Murray scored his side’s second try at Thomond Park
Munster (19) 38
Tries: R Scannell 2, Murray, Haley, Hanrahan, Conway Cons: Hanrahan 4
Ulster (3) 10
Try: Henderson Con: Lowry Pen: Lowry

Munster secured their second consecutive emphatic inter-provincial victory with a fine win against Ulster.

Rory Scannell scored a try in each half with Conor Murray, Mike Haley, JJ Hanrahan and Andrew Conway also crossing for the hosts.

Iain Henderson scored Ulster’s only try.

The visitors had Will Addison sent-off in the 39th minute, but were able to bring on a replacement 20 minutes later under the Rainbow Cup’s trial laws.

A week on from their Challenge Cup semi-final capitulation against Leicester, Ulster arrived in Limerick seeking a quick bounce-back, but instead their performance only compounded their misery of recent weeks as they slipped to a third straight defeat.

In a feisty first half that saw numerous flashpoints, Munster’s defence completely stifled Ulster, who struggled to get out of their own half despite having the wind at their backs.

Munster by contrast were clinical going forward, with Scannell’s first try coming after 11 minutes following a huge Gavin Coombes carry.

Murray then capped off a fine few days, having been named in his third British and Irish Lions squad on Thursday, by touching down after Dan Goggin had been stopped just inches short.

Will Addison is sent off
Will Addison was sent off on his first start of the season

With the hosts firmly in control, Ulster’s cause was made even more difficult when Addison, on his first start of the season, was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Shane Daly.

As part of the Rainbow Cups trial laws, teams can replace players who have been sent off after 20 minutes of being down to 14 men, meaning James Hume was able to come on in Addison’s place midway through the second half.

With the final act of the half, Haley inflicted yet more pain on Ulster by picking a beautiful line to cut through Ulster’s line and slide under the posts.

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland gave a clear indication of his thoughts on his side’s first half showing by making five changes during the break.

The replacements immediately had the desired impact, with Ulster springing into life from the kick-off and captain Henderson, also named in the Lions squad on Thursday, drove over following an impressive maul to get his side back into the contest.

However, down to 14 men Ulster’s bodies were tiring and they were still struggling to break Munster’s stern defence. When Scannell picked off Michael Lowry’s pass for his second try, any hopes of a dramatic fightback evaporated.

Three minutes later Hanrahan ruthlessly exploited a gap in the Ulster defensive line to sprint home for his side’s fifth try.

Conway was allowed the final say in the last play of the game as, with players spread out right across the pitch, he collected a cross-field kick to run over in the corner unopposed.

Munster: Haley; Conway, Goggin, R Scannell, Daly; Hanrahan, Murray; Kilcoyne, N Scannell, Ryan; Wycherley, Beirne; O’Mahony (capt), Cloete, Coombes.

Replacements: O’Byrne, Loughman, Salanoa, Kleyn, Stander, McCarthy, Healy, De Allende.

Ulster: Stockdale; Lyttle, Addison, McCloskey, McIlroy, Lowry, Mathewson; Warwick, Andrew, O’Toole, O’Connor, Henderson (capt); Murphy, Rea, McCann.

Replacements: Herring, Reid, Moore, Carter, Timoney, Shanahan, Curtis, Hume.

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