Munster 22-46 Scarlets: First-half blitz earns Welshmen PRO12 title spoils in Dublin
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 28/05/17 12:20pm
A first-half blitz from the Scarlets earned them their second Guinness PRO12 title as they beat Munster 46-22 in Dublin on Saturday.
The Welsh region piled on four tries in the opening 40 minutes on Saturday, with Liam Williams, Steff Evans, Gareth Davies and Tadhg Beirne all crossing for a 29-3 lead following a Tyler Bleyendaal penalty for Munster.
Bleyendaal then crossed for his side's first try on the stroke of half-time, but the Scarlets were in cruise control throughout the second half, with Patchell slotting a penalty and DTH van der Merwe scoring their fifth try, before Andrew Conway and Keith Earls crossed for a pair of tries inside the last five minutes to hit back for Munster.
However it was, fittingly, Scarlets who had the final say of the game as James Davies dotted down with no time left on the clock to bring down the curtain on a commanding victory.
It is the second title for the Welsh region, while the pain of defeat would have been compounded for Munster as they lost to Saracens in the semi-final of the Champions Cup in the same stadium last month.
Man of the match
How it happened
Tyler Bleyedaal opened the scoring with a shot at goal in the eighth minute, but Liam Williams scored the first try of the game shortly thereafter.
With Nigel Owens playing advantage for a penalty, Rhys Patchell chipped over the defence into the corner, and the ball bounced perfectly for winger Liam Williams, who dived over for a superb score. Patchell missed the conversion but slotted a penalty to make it 8-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Things went from bad to worse for Munster as Jonathan Davies and Steff Evans combined to put the winger over in the left corner, with Patchell converting and doing the same in the 28th minute when Gareth Davies scored from an inside pass from Scott Williams, who had opened up the midfield.
Tadhg Beirne then put an end to the contest when he crashed over from close range to make it 29-3 following the conversion. Bleyendall had the final say of the half with a score under the posts, but Munster were still 19 points adrift at the break.
Patchell extended the Welsh region's lead from the kicking tee six minutes into the second half, after which the game went quiet.
But it sprung back to life in the final five minutes, with Van der Merwe crossing before Conway and Earls added some respectability to the score, with James Davies capping off an afternoon to remember for the Scarlets.
When Gareth Davies took the inside ball from Scott Williams for Scarlets' third try, there was a hint of a forward pass. Nigel Owens checked the pass after the score but declared that it travelled backwards out of the hands of Williams.
When Munster were 12 points down, a score would have brought them right back into the contest, but going down by 19 took the Irish province out of the contest.
On Player Mic
Stat of the game
DTH van der Merwe's try was his 50th in the PRO12, in what was his final appearance for the Scarlets as he now heads for Aviva Premiership side Newcastle.
Tweet of the match
John Barclay caught the eye of Rory Lawson - but was Warren Gatland watching?
Tweet of the build-up to the match
A mention for Jonathan Evans, who made the tough decision to miss his own stag do in order to take his place on the bench in Dublin.
It appears to have been a good decision.
Evans on his way to Budapest
Shingler shines for Scarlets
Murray: Our worst performance for final
Barclay: Unbelievable to win PRO12