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Dragons stun Munster

jmcconnell 4 Apr 2006

Newport Gwent Dragons extended their strong run at Rodney Parade by upsetting title-chasing Munster on Friday night.

The hosts have now won five in a row at Rodney Parade since last December while the men of Munster have now lost three in a row in the Celtic League for the first time since April 2004.

To add to the Irish province’s woes outside-half Jeremy Manning was stretchered from the field in a neck brace during the clash.

The Dragons, who had lost all three of their other meetings with Munster this year, were soon behind in the clash when Trevor Halstead exploited a gap to go over for the first try of the game that was converted by Manning.

The home side soon rallied and a smart pass from wing Gareth Wyatt to skipper Jason Forster put the flanker in for his seventh try of the season.

However, No.10 Craig Warlow was unable to slot the difficult conversion.

Munster were soon further ahead when the Dragons’ defence offered Manning the opportunity to add tohis tally with the boot.

But that was the last contribution Manning made as he was soon stretchered off after he collapsed to the ground following a big tackle.

Back row forward Michael Owen and Forster were then involved in some good work that eventually lead to wing Nathan Brew breaking a tackle near the posts and diving over acrobatically.

Warlow’s simple conversion gave the Dragons the lead for the first time in the match.

Munster had opportunities and plenty of possession but were left to rue some simple errors in key areas.

And the Welsh side went further ahead before the break when Brew found a gap in midfield, and after the ball was recycled well by centre Ceri Sweeney and full-back Aled Thomas, Wyatt touched down to put his side seven points up.

Some good work from locks Donnacha O’Callaghan and Paul O’Connell after the break laid the foundation for prop Frederico Pucciariello to claim an easy score.

Replacement outside-half Paul Burke added the conversion to level the scores at 17-17 but the home side were soon ahead again when Warlow punnished the Munster defence for taking out centre Hal Luscombe.

Warlow kicked another three points on the hour, this time for an offisde offence and the Dragons were unlucky not to go further ahead when replacement Mike Mullins narrowly failed to collect his own chip and chase.

Another chance soon fell his way but this time he was unable to stay in touch as he tried to field a chip over the top from Wyatt.

But it did not matter as Munster were unable to force their way back into the match.

 

 

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