Dragons demolish mediocre Munster

Gwent 29 Munster 6
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The Independent Online

It takes a bit of work to make the Gwent Dragons look good this season, but the 2003 version of the Munster rugby team did it comfortably at Rodney Parade last night.

Alan Gaffney's men crashed to their heaviest-ever Celtic League defeat against the side chosen by many Welsh pundits as the worst in the Principality, and the Australian coach is struggling to compete in this tournament without his World Cup players.

The Gwent fly-half, Craig Warlow, kicked 19 points in a rugged clash of two sides desperate for a victory. The Dragons starved the visitors of possession and made the most of every opportunity they got as they romped to their third straight win at home.

"We've worked hard for this," the Dragons' man of the match, Jason Forster, said. "Mike Ruddock [coach] has worked hard at the basics all season and we're really happy about how things are coming together. We saw Llanelli beat these guys the other week, and we're pleased to have done the same." The first quarter was all the Dragons, with Warlow, selected ahead of goal-kicking whiz Lee Jarvis, proving his worth with two penalty goals and a conversion of backrower Jamie Ringer's try to give his side a comfortable 13-0 lead on the half-hour mark.

Munster's makeshift stand-off, Jeremy Staunton, missed his second shot at goal in the 37th minute, and his opposite number Warlow punished him with a third penalty goal to give his side a well-deserved 16-point lead at half-time.

It was third time lucky for Staunton in the 52nd minute as he finally gave visiting fans something to cheer about with a simple penalty goal, but Warlow cancelled that out with a dropped goal before Staunton slotted a second penalty goal.

Some good work from Dragons captain, Andy Marinos, set up good territory and the prop, Adam Black, steamed over the try-line. Warlow's conversion simply twisted the knife as Gwent ended the match as a contest.

Gwent Dragons: Tries J Ringer, A Black; Penalties C Warlow 4; Drop goals C Warlow; Conversions C Warlow 2. Munster: Penalties J Staunton 2.

GWENT DRAGONS: S Tuipulotu; G Arasa (B Davey, 79), H Luscombe, A Marinos (capt), B Breeze; C Warlow, G Baber; A Black, S Jones (P Young, 64), C Anthony (R Thomas, 76), I Gough, P Sidoli (L Charteris, 76), J Ringer, J Forster, R Oakley.

MUNSTER: D Crotty; S Payne (C Casey, 77), M Mullins, C O'Sullivan (B Murphy, 78), M Lawlor; J Staunton, E Reddan (F Murphy, 78); S Kerr, A Long, J Danagher (F Roche, 40), T Hogan, D Sheehan (E Halvey, 67) (C McMahon 73), S Keogh, D Wallace, J Williams (capt).