Pro12: Munster 17-6 Scarlets
Last updated on .From the section Rugby Union
|Munster (8) 17|
|Tries: Smith Pens: Hanrahan 4|
|Scarlets (6) 6|
|Pen: Priestland Drop Goal: Priestland|
Scarlets slipped to their second Pro12 defeat of the season after a 17-6 loss to Munster in Limerick.
Rhys Priestland gave the Welsh region an early lead from a drop-goal but Andrew Smith's try put the Irish province ahead at half-time.
Munster fly-half JJ Hanrahan extended the home side's lead in the second period as Priestland missed two attempts at goal.
Both sides will now focus on the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup.
Scarlets travel to last year's Heineken Cup champions Toulon, while Munster visit English Premiership side Sale.
The visitors went ahead after just one minute at Thomond Park thanks to a drop-goal from Wales fly-half Priestland.
Hanrahan missed an early penalty for Munster but levelled the scores with his second attempt midway through a scrappy first half.
Scarlets were forced into a change soon after as centre Gareth Owen strained his hamstring and was replaced by Michael Tagicakibau.
The home side began to probe around the fringes and scored the first try of the game after 24 minutes.
Neat interplay between Munster scrum-half Conor Murray and winger Simon Zebo created space for Hanrahan, who put centre Andrew Smith over in the corner.
Ill-discipline from the Irish province gave Priestland the opportunity to reduce the deficit but the 27-year-old missed two kickable penalties.
The fly-half succeeded at his third attempt just before half-time and passed 1,000 points for the Welsh region in the process.
Hanrahan, 22, kicked Munster further ahead three minutes into the second period after Scarlets flanker John Barclay was penalised for losing his binding.
Scarlets full-back Liam Williams failed to roll away from a ruck soon after, allowing Hanrahan to add another three points.
And it was the Munster fly-half who took the game away from the visitors by kicking his fourth penalty on 61 minutes.
Anthony Foley's side looked for a second try in the final 10 minutes but were denied by the TMO as Gerhard van den Heever pushed towards the line.
Wayne Pivac's side rarely threatened and it was only as full-time approached that the Scarlets' back-line burst into life.
Liam Williams and Tagicakibau combined to break into the Munster half but the home side scrambled and kept Scarlets at bay.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac: "We knew it would be an arm wrestle - we came prepared for that.
"We wanted to lift the intensity in our game and I think at times we did that.
"Unforced errors hurt us tonight, dropping kick-offs, little knock-ons here and there.
"Some of the decisions out there I was baffled with. We need to go and have a look at the tape and see what was happening there."
Munster: Johne Murphy, Gerhard van den Heever, Andrew Smith, Ivan Dineen, Simon Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O'Byrne, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Billy Holland; Peter O'Mahony (capt), Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander
Replacements: Guinazu for O'Byrne (52), Cronin for Kilcoyne (52), Keatley for Hanrahan (64), Copeland for P O'Mahony (64), Williams for Murray (70), O'Callaghan for Foley (74), Archer for Botha (74)
Not used: Ronan O'Mahony
Scarlets: Liam Williams; Harry Robinson, Gareth Owen, Scott Williams (capt), Kristian Phillips; Rhys Priestland, Aled Davies; Phil John, Kirby Myhill, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Johan Snyman, Aaron Shingler, Rory Pitman, John Barclay
Replacements: Tagicakibau for Owen (23), Phillips for Myhill (48), Evans for John (48), Lee for Jones (48), Earle for Snyman (53), J Davies for Barclay (66), R Williams for A Davies (68), S Shingler for Priestland (72)
Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway, Dermot Blake IRFU)
Citing commissioner: Peter Ferguson (IRFU)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (IRFU)