Munster 38 Ulster 10
Munster’s bid for silverware gathered significant pace at Thomond Park as they made it two wins from two in the PRO14 Rainbow Cup with a convincing and clinical win over 14-man Ulster.
It was a six-try demolition, four of them coming after Will Addison had seen red on the stroke of half-time.
Mike Haley added Munster’s third try of the opening period from the resulting penalty for a dangerous tackle to give his side a 19-3 interval lead after earlier tries from Rory Scannell and a razor-sharp Conor Murray, showing just why he was one of the first names on Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions squad list. Another score from Scannell brought up the bonus point in the second half before JJ Hanrahan and Andrew Conway added the fifth and sixth.
Yet the visitors were on the back foot before Addison was sent off just before half-time for a high and reckless tackle on Shane Daly.
Rory Scannell scored the opening try, Hanrahan slotting the conversion while Murray’s try on 27 minutes saw the scrum-half sniping at the side of a ruck with great effect and scoring as a result for the second game in a row, having done the same in the opening-round win over Leinster at the RDS.
Adrift by 16 points, Ulster were facing into a tough 19 minutes before they could deploy their red-card replacement introduced as a law trial at the start of the competition but they began the second-half strongly, captain Iain Henderson, the third 2021 Lion on the field, scoring after a driving maul, Lowry’s conversion on 43 minutes dragging the visitors back into the contest.
Yet Munster wrestled back the initiative 11 minutes later, Rory Scannell expertly reading Lowry’s pass in midfield to intercept and run 40 metres to score under the posts for the bonus-point try, converted by Hanrahan.
Just three minutes after that, Hanrahan was converting his own try having sliced through the Ulster defence to open a 33-10 lead before the visitors were returned to the full complement with the addition of James Hume on 59 minutes. It was not enough to rescue their Rainbow Cup title bid, Andrew Conway grabbing the sixth and final try of the night to deliver the killer blow after collecting a Scannell crossfield kicked pass. Munster march on.
MUNSTER: M Haley; A Conway, D Goggin (D de Allende, 72), R Scannell (D de Allende, 39-ht, blood), S Daly; JJ Hanrahan (B Healy, 66), C Murray (N McCarthy, 66); D Kilcoyne (J Loughman, 55), N Scannell (K O’Byrne, 60), J Ryan (R Salanoa, 60); F Wycherley (J Kleyn, 55), T Beirne; P O’Mahony - captain, C Cloete (CJ Stander, 55), G Coombes.
Yellow card: P O’Mahony 75
ULSTER: J Stockdale; R Lyttle, W Addison (J Hume, 59 red card replacement), S McCloskey, E McIlroy; M Lowry (A Curtis, 62), A Mathewson (D Shanahan, h-t); A Warwick (C Reid, h-t), J Andrew (R Herring, h-t), T O’Toole (M Moore, h-t); A O’Connor, I Henderson - captain (S Carter, 66); J Murphy, M Rea, D McCann (N Timoney, h-t).
Red card: W Addison 40
Replacements not used: S Carter
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)