Munster 45-14 Dragons: URC champions too strong for understrength visitors

Gavin Coombes stretches to score Munster's second try at Musgrave Park
Gavin Coombes scored one of Munster's three first-half tries as the Irish province led 17-7 at half-time

United Rugby Championship: Munster v Dragons

Munster (17) 45

Tries: R Scannell, Coombes, Nash 2, Ahern, Casey, Gleeson Cons: Butler 4, Crowley

Dragons (7) 14

Tries: Woodman, SeiuliCons: Reed 2

Munster's early scoring burst helped them beat struggling Dragons 45-14 in the United Rugby Championship in Cork.

Seven Dragons players were in Wales' squad for the Barbarians game while they were also minus 13 injured men.

Tries from Rory Scannell, Gavin Coombes and the outstanding Calvin Nash helped the champions lead 17-7 at half-time with Ryan Woodman replying for Dragons.

Thomas Ahern, Craig Casey, Brian Gleeson and Nash added further Munster tries before Aki Seiuli's reply.

For Dragons, Ben Carter, Elliot Dee, Rio Dyer, Cai Evans, Lloyd Fairbrother, Dan Lydiate, Aaron Wainwright were with Wales, while Leon Brown, Harri Ackerman, Chris Coleman, Ollie Griffiths, Lewis Jones, Harrison Keddie, Sean Lonsdale, Rodrigo Martinez, David Richards, Jared Rosser, Matthew Screech, Joe Westwood and Jordan Williams were missing because of injury.

Dragons did welcome back Wales back row Taine Basham after World Cup duty but Munster were boosted by Casey's selection at scrum-half and Jack Crowley's inclusion on the bench after both had been part of Andy Farrell's Ireland squad in France.

Basham lined up at number eight alongside Wales Under-20s captain Woodman who was making his first start.

Brian Gleeson shows his delight after scoring one of Munster's seven tries at Musgrave
Brian Gleeson scored one of Munster's seven tries after coming on as a replacement

Prop Luke Yendle also made his first Dragons start while their lack of squad numbers also meant James Benjamin, who has been converted to a hooker, returned to his previous flanker position.

To make matters worse for Dai Flanagan's side, they suffered an immediate blow as full-back Angus O'Brien suffered a second-minute injury and had to be replaced by Dane Blacker.

Wing Nash was Munster's star performer in the first half as his break set up Scannell's 14th-minute try and before he was fleet of foot once again to score Munster's third try in the 22nd minute.

In between, Coombes notched an 18th-minute touchdown as he couldn't be stopped from close range following intense Munster pressure.

To their credit, Dragons responded before the interval as Rhodri Williams' charge brought them into the Munster 22 before Blacker's cross-field kick picked out Woodman.

Munster reasserted themselves following the resumption as Ahern's try secured the bonus point prior to Casey, replacement Brian Gleeson and Nash adding further touchdowns before Seiuli's reply in the final play of the game.

The only concern for Munster from the win was Nash hobbling off with injury after notching his second try.

Dragons are yet to win in the league season, losing narrowly at home to Edinburgh before last weekend's 9-16 defeat to Cardiff at Rodney Parade.

Munster drew 13-13 at Benetton a week ago after opening their campaign with a victory against Sharks in Limerick.

Munster: Shane Daly; Seán O'Brien, Alex Nankivell, Rory Scannell, Calvin Nash; Tony Butler, Craig Casey; Kieran Ryan, Diarmuid Barron, John Ryan, Edwin Edogbo, Tom Ahern, Jack O'Donoghue (capt), Alex Kendellen, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Scott Buckley, Mark Donnelly, Stephen Archer, Ruadhán Quinn, Brian Gleeson, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, Ben O'Connor.

Dragons: Angus O'Brien; Corey Baldwin, Steff Hughes (capt), Jack Dixon, Ashton Hewitt; Will Reed, Rhodri Williams; Rhodri Jones, Bradley Roberts, Luke Yendle, Joe Davies, George Nott, Ryan Woodman, James Benjamin, Taine Basham.

Replacements: Brodie Coghlan, Aki Seiuli, Nathan Evans, Barney Langton-Cryer, George Young, Dane Blacker, Aneurin Owen, Ewan Rosser.

Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU)

Assistant referees: Dan Carson & Sam Holt (IRFU)

TMO: Mike Adamson (SRU).