Ulster were on the end of a hammering at Thomond Park last night with Munster running in six tries which ends Ulster’s interest in the tournament, not that they had any to start with.
Iain Henderson was Ulster’s only try scorer while Will Addison was shown a red card for a shoulder charge on Shane Daly shortly before the half time break. The damage was already done however with Munster leading 19-3 at the break.
Munster (19) 38
TRY: Rory Scannell (2), Conor Murray, Mike Haley, JJ Hanrahan, Andrew Conway
CON: JJ Hanrahan (4)
Ulster (3) 10
TRY: Iain Henderson
CON: Michael Lowry
PEN: Michael Lowry
It wasn’t a great performance, especially after last weekend’s humbling defeat where you were hoping Ulster would bounce back. There was none with Ulster shipping three first half tries to put the game out of sight.
I thought it would have been a fairly competitive game in the first half but a failure to combat the jackel combination of Tadhg Beirne and Chris Cloete through latched carries gave Munster free reign at breakdown ball, often slowing it down or even pinching a turnover. This led to a comfortable night on the pitch for the men in red.
Ulster are a side that thrive on front foot, quick rucked ball and when this is in short supply, Dan McFarland‘s side struggle to break down defences. Last night the forwards were met on the gainline by a Munster wall, thanks to Cloete and Beirne disrupting the breakdown and allowing the home side to get set defensively.
Rory Scannell scored his first try thanks to a big carry from Gavin Coombes while Conor Murray scored their second after 26 minutes.
Addison was shown a straight red on 39 minutes for a shoulder charge. There was no wrap of the arms meaning it was an illegal act leaving Craig Evans with no choice but to send the centre off. As per the law application guidelines on the World Rugby website if Addison had attempted to wrap, it probably would have mitigated down to a yellow card – not that it would have had any influence on the game.
From the next set piece, Mike Haley crossed leaving Ulster with a 16 point defecit to overturn in the second half. Henderson crossed after a successful rolling maul however it was short lived as Scannell picked off a Lowry pass for his second try. JJ Hanrahan scored the fifth a couple of minutes later before Andrew Conway rounded off the game with a try in the final play.
Munster: Mike Haley, Andrew Conway, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly, JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Fineen Wycherley, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Chris Cloete, Gavin Coombes. Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Roman Salanoa, Jean Kleyn, CJ Stander, Nick McCarthy, Ben Healy, Damian de Allende.
Ulster: Jacob Stockdale, Rob Lyttle, Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Michael Lowry, Alby Mathewson; Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Marcus Rea, David McCann. Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Reid, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Nick Timoney, Dave Shanahan, Angus Curtis, James Hume
Where now for Ulster?
Dan’s comments midweek that his side would “not recover quickly” from the Leicester Tigers defeat were probably a sign of things to come last night as it still looked like they were wallowing in some form of self pity as they barely fired shot against a Munster side who didn’t need to get out of third gear.
If there was one positive it was the performance of Jacob Stockdale at 15. He was able to get Ulster on the front foot by varying his kick return and also put in a very good try saving tackle on Shane Daly in the first half.
We’ve still four games to go in this competition with Leinster in the RDS next week. The rest of the fixtures are yet to be announced.