MUNSTER will play Champions Cup rugby next season after Rory Scannell’s two tries helped them beat Scarlets 31-15 – bringing an end to the Welsh club’s top-four hopes in the process.
Scarlets needed to win and hope Ospreys were able to beat Ulster to extend their season into the playoffs but neither of those scenarios materialised as Munster signed off their season on a win in front of their home fans.
Francis Saili and Scannell both crossed in the first half but three penalties from Steve Shingler kept the visitors in touch.
.But the hosts strengthened their hold on the game after the break with Ronan O’Mahony, CJ Stander and Scannell crossing.
Chasing a play-off spot, all the pressure in the early stages came from Scarlets and they duly got their reward on nine minutes when Shingler sent over a penalty.
But when another attacking move broke down minutes afterwards, the visitors were stung on the break in devastating fashion.
Saili picked the ball up after the ball had been turned over in front of Munster’s own posts before feeding in a grubber kick for Keith Earls. Earls still had plenty to do but side stepped the onrushing Scarlets defence before returning the ball to Saili to canter over, with Johnny Holland converting for 7-3.
The game was certainly being played at a high speed and Scarlets though they had got a try back almost immediately when Steffan Evans went over the corner but Nigel Owens eventually ruled it out for an earlier forward pass.
Play was instead pulled back for a scrum and when Scarlets then won a penalty, they at least got three points on the board when Shingler sent over his kick.
The next attack went the way of Munster and they again proved clinical when they entered their opponents half, walking away with their second try of the match when Scannell darted over after strong work from the forwards.
Holland again added the conversion to take the scoreboard to 14-6 after 26 minutes.
Scarlets knew they needed tries to keep their play-off hopes alive but they had to make do a series of penalties instead before half-time – both through Shingler – as the visitors entered the break trailing 14-12.
The hosts started the second half strongly and when Scarlets were caught going off their feet, Holland had a chance to extend his side’s lead but he pulled his effort off target.
James Davies then made a break for Scarlets but with no teammates in support he was held up, but the visitors kept up the pressure and Shingler looked to chip forward to towards the posts but he was unable to gather and Earls cleared.
Munster were soon starting to see more of the ball but despite getting themselves a line out close to Scarlets line, they were unable to make it count.
But their third try of the match did eventually arrive just short of the hour mark when a defensive mistake in midfield between Scarlets duo John Barclay and Hadleigh Parkes saw Scannell gobble up the ball before playing in O’Mahony to run over. Holland was off target with the conversion with the scoreline at 19- 12.
Shingler slotted over another penalty to make it 19-15 but Munster were not done and a powerful driving maul on 68 minutes resulted in another try – this time for Stander after consultation with the TMO.
Holland was off target with his conversion but with Scarlets tiring, the hosts were able to add a fifth try late on as Scannell went over after being played in by Stander.
Holland had the final say with his conversion as Munster ran out comfortable winners although Scarlets themselves can also at least look forward to Champions Cup rugby next season.
Aber settle for a point in entertaining draw
IN the driving wind and rain at the eye of Storm Callum well over 200 hardy souls turned out for another exciting evening of JD Welsh Premier League football at Park Avenue on Friday night (Oct 12), and they were rewarded with an engrossing game.
With defences on top neither side did quite enough to make the breakthrough, though the hosts did end up numerically on top following Noah Edwards’ late red card.
Declan Walker, who had moved to right wing for this game, made the most of the extra space and fired an early howitzer wide.
With Aber’s Ryan Wollacott and Allan Goodall excelling at the back against the burly Jamie Breese, the visitors were creating chances and Matthew Jones cleared one goalbound effort off the line.
Danny Brookwell’s right footed shot was easy for Terry McCormick in Aber’s goal, then at the other end the superb Paolo Mendes curled in a fantastic ball to Ash Ruane, who fell in the box before pulling the trigger. Aber’s penalty cries however were in vain.
Breese and Brookwell had further half chances saved, then Rio Ahmadi for hit the side netting at the other end. Walker flashed a shot past the post and Ruane had a low effort parried in Aber’s late rally but both defences were on top in a high quality first half and the teams went in at 0-0.
Into the second half and the chances kept coming. Ryan Edwards, who was dancing down the wing all night had Town’s first effort, and then Goodall made the tackle of the night, a real goal saver to deny Breese who was through and seemed certain to score.
A nice move from Aber saw Mendes burst through the middle but his shot skewed wide, before McCormick was again called into action to superbly tip over Brookwell’s shot from the left side.
Walker saw another attempt off target, and then Ruane, who had been terrorising Ryan Williams all night, finally got goal side, but saw his goalbound effort go narrowly wide.
Walker tested Alex Ramsey in Caernarfon’s goal with a free kick before Gareth Evans hot the post with a curling effort from inside the area.
In the driving rain the chances kept coming with Ryan Edwards and Mendes the next to shoot in vain, and then with nine minutes to go Caernarfon’s Noah Edwards was show a straight red card for an ugly lunge at Declan Walker.
The hosts dominated the last ten minutes with sub Joe Phillips twice denied by Ramsey, but in truth the draw was a fair result and both sets of players should feel proud having put on a good evening’s entertainment in awful conditions.
The point takes Aber back up into eighth place and Nev Powell’s side now have two away games to try and kick on if they are to make a challenge for the top six, at Llandudno on Saturday (Oct 20, ko 2.30pm), and Llanelli on Friday, October 26 (ko 7.45pm).
Dominant Aber beat Pembroke in Plate
ABERYSTWYTH went through to the second round of the WRU Bowl on Saturday (Sept 29) as they beat Pembroke 50-5.
Last season’s Bowl runners-up Pembroke were unable to field a full strength side however with a number of first team players injured or unavailable.
Although the score suggests a very one-sided match, Pembroke deserve credit for challenging and testing the visitors from the start to the final whistle and their effort deserved more than the five points they scored.
With a few enforced changes it took a while for Aber to settle down, but after an evenly contested opening ten minutes Sam Hesden drove downfield and offloaded to Dorian Jones. He was stopped and from the resulting ruck the ball was passed out along the backs. Llyr Thomas came into the line from full-back to create an overlap for winger Jack Rees to race over for a try that was very well converted by Steff Rees.
Pembroke hit back immediately and from a lineout near the Aber line they caught and drove over to open their account with Dom Colman credited with the try. The conversion was missed but at 5-7 ahead Aber had to work hard as the hosts won and retained possession very well and ran fiercely at the Aber defence. When Aber won the ball they used their backs intelligently and only a dropped pass prevented winger Matthew Wright from racing away to score.
The visitors worked their way upfield and after impressive carrying, supporting and offloading – a welcome feature of their game throughout the afternoon – skipper Arwel Lloyd burst on to a pass to cross for a try to put Aber 5-12 ahead.
Aber’s next try was a beauty. Scrum-half Griff Jones, making a welcome return to Aber colours, dummied and broke from a ruck near the half-way line, he raced upfield and passed to Matthew Hughes in support. He then ran with Hughes for the return pass to score a lovely try which Steff Rees converted to close the first half at 5-19.
The opening ten minutes of the second half was very evenly fought, but Aber’s tackling throughout the match was impressive. They put in a high kick downfield but the catcher’s pass was dropped. Jack Rees pounced to scoop up the ball and race over for his second try of the afternoon. Steff Rees put in a fine conversion and the visitors moved up to 5-26.
A good break by Matthew Wright then took Aber deep into the Pembroke half. When he was stopped, Griff Jones fed the rampaging Arwel Lloyd who ran through a number of tackles before offloading for James Plumbridge to feed try scorer Matthew Hughes.
At 5-31 Aber were comfortable and substitutions were made with no detriment at all to the team’s performance.
The visitors’ next try came from a Pembroke scrum 30 metres from their own line. The hosts won the ball but a dropped pass enabled Matthew Hughes to collect and feed Matthew Wright. He made ground before passing inside to the ever-supporting Arwel Lloyd who scored his second try of the day. Steff Rees converted and Aber moved on to 5-38.
The skipper claimed his hat-trick of tries from a lineout catch by Dan Binks. The drive forward collapsed but Lloyd was again on hand to barge over crowning an excellent performance which not even a bloodied head could spoil. Steff Rees converted to put Aber up to 5-45.
The visitors closed their scoring after an excellent long penalty kick by Llyr Thomas found touch near the home side’s 5 metre line. They won the lineout and fed the ball out for Owain Bonsall to pass to brother Steffan to score the final try. The conversion rebounded from the post but Aber were comfortably into Round 2 having won 5-50.
The second round draw was made earlier in the week and Aber’s win means has seen them earn a home tie against Bonymaen, with that fixture taking place on Saturday (Oct 27).
Borth comeback sends Street packing
BORTH United made it through to the first round proper of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday (Sept 29) as two late goals earned them a 2-1 win.
This much anticipated local derby began in glorious sunshine at Cae Piod and in a tense opening to the match the hosts took the lead within two minutes as Tom Williams’s glancing header from a corner kick beat Ben Willis.
Almost immediately after Williams was unlucky to see his low shot miss the post by inches.
Worryingly for the Borth management team, their side didn’t threaten Alex Pennock’s goal to such an extent the host’s defence were comfortable in dealing with the visitor’s forwards attacks.
Bow Street also had chances to double their lead but missed the target as they held a slender 1-0 lead at half time.
Bow Street held the upper hand as the second half got underway and Steffan Richards’ cross from the byline grazed the crossbar.
Borth, to their credit, also created some chances as Ryan Davies’s rasping low shot was turned for a corner by keeper Pennock.
As the end to end attacks continued Owen Roberts-Young’s superb shot was turned for a corner kick by keeper Willis.
The match reached the last ten minutes with the game still very much in the balance.
Borth’s Dion Ellis-Clark weaved his way from his own half past the Street defence and laid on a through ball for Ryan Davies to make no mistake with a low shot past Pennock for the equalizer.
The visitors sensed an unlikely winner and a long kick from Ben Willis wasn’t dealt with properly by the home defence and Justin Quinn seized on the loose ball and rounded the keeper for what proved to be the winning goal and send the superb Borth supporters euphoric on the sidelines.
It was an excellent cup tie and Borth’s reward for their victory is a game away to Llangefni Town in the first round proper.
The two teams will do battle once again on Saturday (Oct 6) as they meet at the home of Borth United for a Mid Wales League Cup first round tie, kick off 2:30pm.
Popular This Week
News1 week ago
Police urge for only ‘essential travel’ during Storm Callum
News1 week ago
Police name Carmarthenshire man killed by Storm Callum landslide
News1 week ago
New Quay RNLI in dramatic dog rescue
News1 week ago
Council releases latest updates as Storm Callum passes
News2 days ago
Stoned Dihewyd driver reached ‘frightening’ speeds of 120mph
News6 days ago
Residents sought for involvement into Pen Dinas project
News1 week ago
Aberaeron: Boats lost as Storm Callum wreaks havoc in harbour
News1 week ago
Police issue advice to the public over ongoing A484 closures