Frustrated Anthony Foley must find answers

Dragons 22 Munster 6: Anthony Foley launched a stern defence of his team selection after Dragons condemned Munster to back-to-back league defeats.
Frustrated Anthony Foley must find answers

Dragons second-row Rynard Landman scored three minutes from time to put the seal on only a second win in 10 attempts against Munster for the Welsh region. Outside half Dorian Jones kicked 14 points for the home side, as they picked up their third league win of the campaign.

Rory Scannell, who made history alongside sibling Niall Scannell as the first brothers to start a league game for Munster, kicked two penalties on his first start at outside half but the visitors were largely outplayed against a stubborn Dragons side.

Munster head coach Foley made 10 changes from the team who lost to Connacht at Thomond Park the previous week, a first for Connacht in 29 years, but he insisted the selected players were to blame for the defeat.

Foley said: “You have to make changes, you can’t play the same 15 every week. We are in a lot of competitions, we have injuries and players need to be looked after.

“Players have been given their chance but they haven’t taken it.

“We butchered a couple of chances in the first half and we didn’t give ourselves anything to hold on to.

“It could have been 20-6 if we’d taken our opportunities and confidence has nothing to do with catching a ball or taking a pass but we couldn’t do that and it’s very frustrating.

“We want to get our heads down now and make sure we get a performance against Leicester to stop this rot.”

The home side drew first blood inside a minute with outside-half Jones making the most of a penalty opportunity to kick the Dragons in front.

Munster spent the opening 10 minutes inside their own half but when they did finally make their way up the field Scannell brought them back on level terms with a penalty.

The best chance of a lacklustre opening quarter was carved out by the Dragons backline but wing Ashton Hewitt dropped Jones’ pass out wide with only Dave Kilcoyne to beat for a try in the corner.

Ronan O’Mahony produced the game’s first standout moment when he went through the middle of a ruck and raced 40 metres up field. Munster recycled the ball and went wide for Dave O’Callaghan to put Simon Zebo over the whitewash, only for the TMO to spot a double movement and disallow the try.

Three minutes later Munster crossed the Dragons’ line for a second time after good work by Scannell and O’Mahony again but Lucas Amorosino lost the ball in a tackle from flanker Nic Cudd.

Jones edged the Dragons back in front with a second penalty just after the half hour mark before it was the home side’s turn to be stopped just short of the line.

Centre Adam Hughes put full-back Carl Meyer in for the corner but he was shunted into touch by a superb tackle from Zebo.

Scannell, making his first start of the campaign at 10 for Munster, added a second penalty a minute before half-time to even the score at the interval.

Parity didn’t last long after the break as good field position from the home side allowed Jones to drop back into the pocket and strike a drop-goal to edge the Dragons back in front.

Former New Zealand U20 captain Tyler Bleyendaal replaced Scannell at outside half for the final half an hour but his first contribution was to push a straightforward penalty wide of the posts from 25 metres.

Jones had a chance to put the Dragons in control going into the final quarter with a third penalty after James Cronin, on for Dave Kilcoyne, was penalised but his kick came back off the post. He made up for it with 15 minutes remaining though as his third penalty gave the Dragons a six-point advantage.

With the game on a knife edge it was Landman who had the final say as he beat two Munster defenders out wide and crashed over to secure the victory for the Dragons.

Scorers for Newport:

Try: Landman; Con: Jones; Pens: Jones (3), Tovey; Drop goal: Jones.

Scorers for Munster:

Pens: R Scannell (2).

NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS:

Meyer; Prydie, Hughes, Warren, Hewitt (Wardle 78); Jones (Tovey 78), Pretorius (Davies 65); Price, Thomas (c) (Buckley 65) Harris (Fairbrother 71); Screech (Hill 70), Landman; Evans (Jackson 50), Cudd, Faletau.

MUNSTER:

Amorosino; O’Mahony (Heever 70), Johnston, Hurley (c), Zebo; N Scannell (O’Byrne 70), O’Leary (Sheridan 65); Kilcoyne (Cronin 60), R Scannell (Bleyendaal), Ryan (Sagario 65); Foley, Chisholm (Holland 65); Buckley (Coghlan 60), O’Callaghan, Copeland.

Referee:

Gary Conway (IRFU).

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