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Munster scrape to victory

Munster held on for a 14-13 victory over a gritty Llanelli  Scarlets side to record their 16th straight home victory in the Celtic League.

Debutant Ian Dowling scored their only try while Ronan O’Gara kicked three penalties and then defended well to deny a late Scarlet surge.

A young Scarlets side took a 13-8 half-time lead through two tries from Lee Byrne and Matthew Watkins, but ultimately they were denied possession – although fly-half Mike Hercus missed with a penalty in the third minute of injury time.

Munster opened the scoring with O’Gara’s penalty which was followed by Dowling’s effort in the 17th minute.

The home side dominated the lineouts all night and when Alan Quinlan pinched a Scarlets throw in, O’Gara saw some space and chipped the ball behind the defence which Dowling claimed to score.

However the Scarlets hit back seven minutes later when Dafydd James smashed through Munster’s defence before his well-timed pass to full-back Byrne allowed him a easy run-in.

Hercus could not convert but the score gave them confidence and they started to impose themselves and were rewarded with their second try as Watkins blasted his way over.

Hercus could still not find his range but did manage a massive 30-metre penalty for their injury time lead.

Munster closed the gap to two points in the third quarter when O’Gara was successful with his second penalty.

Scarlets lock Adam Jones was then sin-binned for not rolling away and O’Gara gave Munster the lead with 15 minutes remaining.

Llanelli threw everything into attack and were given a life line in the third minute on injury time however Hercus pushed his 30-metre penalty left.

With one final roll of the dice Scarlets winger Tal Selley chipped ahead, but former Springbok wing Trevor Halstead beat him to touch the ball down.

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