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.
Success for Ceredigion school rugby teams at Principality Stadium
RECENTLY some Ceredigion school rugby teams have been competing at a national level at the Road to Principality event held at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.
There was a great celebration at Ysgol Bro Teifi on Monday, 25 April following the success of their under-14 girls’ rugby team at a. Following victories in a series of games at regional and national level in recent months, the team had the opportunity to play in the national final at the Principality Stadium against Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Denbighshire.
In front of a crowd of some 150 fans who had travelled to Cardiff to see the game, Bro Teifi managed to win 34 points to 19 in a competitive and fast game.
Acting Headteacher, Mr Gareth Evans, “At the start of a new term, it was great to be able to celebrate the success of the girls on the rugby field following a run of games where the team was seen subduing Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, Plas Mawr, Bishopston and the Rhymney Valley among others. I would like to congratulate the girls on their huge success and thank the training team of Llyr James, Gemma Potter and Stephanie Gough for their work.”
Omicron: Sporting events to be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day
SPORTING events in Wales will be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day in a bid to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
The Welsh government said the new measures apply to both indoor and outdoor sporting events, with economy minister Vaughan Gething confirming a £3m “Spectator Sports Fund” will support clubs and venues affected.
The decision comes after a number of postponements affecting Welsh sides in the Football League.
Cardiff City have called off their Boxing Day match against Coventry City due to several Covid cases among their players and staff, while Newport County will no longer face League Two leaders Forest Green.
In the United Rugby Championship, Cardiff Blues are scheduled to play Scarlets at Cardiff Arms Park on Boxing Day, although Ospreys vs Dragons at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea has been called off due to Covid.
“Sporting events over the Christmas period are one of the big highlights of the year,” Gething said.
“Unfortunately, the new Omicron variant is a significant development in the pandemic and could cause a large number of infections.
“We need to do everything we can to protect people’s health and control the spread of this awful virus.
“Throughout the pandemic we have followed scientific and public health advice to keep people safe. The advice is clear – we need to act now in response to the threat of omicron. We are giving people as much notice of these decisions as we can.
“Crowds will come back as soon as possible. We want everyone to be here to enjoy their favourite sports.”
Latest figures show Omicron cases are rising in all parts of Wales, while the overall rate of coronavirus infections is at just under 550 cases per 100,000 people.
Cardiff City have called off their Boxing Day match against Coventry City due to several Covid cases among their players and staff; Ospreys vs Dragons also off in United Rugby Championship; Welsh economy minister says clubs and venues would be supported through a £3m fund.
An EFL spokesperson said: “The EFL notes the disappointing news that fans of Welsh clubs competing in the EFL will be unable to watch their team play live at home over the festive period, but we appreciate there are many factors influencing each administration’s decision.
“Looking forward, the League will continue to work with our broadcast partners and other relevant stakeholders throughout this difficult period as we consider how we can appropriately support our Welsh clubs and their supporters so they can watch their team while matches are played behind closed doors.
“In addition, we will engage with the authorities in Wales to determine what type and or level of financial support they can provide our clubs in Wales whilst they are unable to welcome supporters through the turnstiles.”
Have your say on how Ceredigion becomes a more physically active county
A CONSULTATION is currently underway on how Ceredigion is becoming a more physically active County.
There is a plan to follow the “Sport & Recreational Activity Strategy 2014-2020” which is being developed, with an opportunity for Ceredigion residents to have their say.
Your feedback will be essential in supporting Ceredigion County Council’s production of a new development plan and in helping determine its priorities from 2022 to 2027. This will ensure that Ceredigion residents have access to quality opportunities to become more active, benefiting their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The new plan will identify how becoming a more active county can contribute to the Council’s Corporate Strategies and the Local Wellbeing Plan.
To ensure that the plan meets the needs of all its residents, the Council would like as many people and organisations as possible to complete the survey. Residents have until 17 October to complete the survey: https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/your-council/consultations/physical-activity-development-plan/
Councillor Catherine Hughes, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Porth Gofal, Early Intervention, Wellbeing Hubs and Culture said: “The physical and mental health and well-being of Ceredigion’s residents is very important. This is a chance for residents to have their say on how they want to receive sport and physical activities for the years to come. We recognise the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on sport and physical activity in the county and this is an opportunity to let us know how we can build back stronger.”
For further information or if you would like the survey in an alternative format, contact our Customer Services Contact Centre on 01545 570881 or email@example.com.
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