Munster bide time before breaking down Aberavon

Munster 19 Aberavon 11

The men in red made a bright start, putting the visitors under pressure in the early minutes, but the closest they came to a try was a cross-kick from Scott Deasy which was almost touched down by Cian Bohane after 10 minutes.

Bohane was denied by his opposite number, Richard Thomas, who rallied his teammates with an enterprising solo try just three minutes later.

Munster lost the ball in midfield, Thomas fly-kicked it past the cover and controlled it coolly to touch down for the opening score. The conversion was missed by out-half Jamie Davies.

Munster dominated the remainder of the half but more than once Aberavon turned the ball over when under pressure in their own 22. Deasy also missed a penalty before his side got on the scoreboard.

Good pressure in the Aberavon 22 – all coming from a fine blocked kick by Munster second-row Dave Foley — saw Tralee man Danny Barnes put Corey Hircock in at the corner flag on 34 minutes. Deasy did well to bring his conversion in on the wind, making it 7-5.

Jamie Davies put over an Aberavon penalty to restore their lead, though Munster might have had another try through Hircock late in the half — only a deft John Phillips interception saved the day for the Welshmen.

Aberavon added to their 8-7 half-time lead with another Davies penalty soon after the restart, but that would prove to be their last score. On 53 minutes a fine Bohane break through the heart of the Aberavon defence and a well-timed pass put Ronan O’Mahony over beneath the posts, and Deasy converted to make it 14-11.

Though Munster struggled to create clear-cut scoring opportunities, they had the luxury of spending almost the entire second-half in Aberavon territory. The Welshmen couldn’t break out of their own half and it seemed a matter of time before they conceded again.

Sure enough, on 64 minutes Munster were again deep in the Aberavon half when Deasy switched the point of attack from a ruck, sniping up the right and drawing in defenders before popping the ball to flanker Barry O’Mahony. The forward joined his brother Ronan on the scoresheet thanks to a neat step in off the wing for Munster’s third try.

Deasy couldn’t convert, which left the score still in the balance at 19-11, but the game wound down in a succession of scrums back in the Aberavon 22.

Two out of two for Munster, with an away game to Rotherham in December their next outing in the competition.

MUNSTER: J Holland; R O’Mahony, D Barnes, C Bohane, C Hircock, S Deasy, P Stringer; A Cotter, S Henry (C), J Ryan, I Nagle, D Foley, D O’Callaghan, B O’Mahony, T O’Donnell.

Replacements: C Condon for A Cotter, 53; B Hayes for D Foley, D Casey for S Henry, C Sheridan for P Stringer, all 60; S Buckley for D O’Callaghan and I Dineen for C Hircock, both 62; R Mullane for S Deasy 68.

ABERAVON: J Philips; R Thomas, B John, W Price, S Andrews; J Davies, J Heatley; R Jenkins, I Davis, C John; R Gieran, G Ronan; B Thomas, J Reeves, M Allen.

Replacements: L. Purnell for Gieran, D. Thomas for B. Thomas, both 60; N White for R Jenkins, 62; H. Davies for G Ronan, 72.

Referee: A. Jackson (RFU).

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