Sport

Dragons put off-field troubles to one side to claim shock win over Munster

PA Sport Staff

Dragons pulled off one of the shocks of the season by defeating Munster 23-17 for the first time since 2015.

The Gwent region put their off-field troubles behind them to record their first win at Rodney Parade for over 18 months.

With director of rugby, Dean Ryan, reported to have departed after three years in the post, it was left to head coach, Dai Flanagan, to pick up a win in his first home game in charge.

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Dragons had to rely on a superb individual try from Rio Dyer for the victory with JJ Hanrahan kicking six penalties.

Munster’s tries came from Stephen Archer and Ben Healy, with the latter adding two conversions and a penalty.

A simple penalty from Healy gave Munster an early lead but their former player, Hanrahan, nullified this with a more difficult effort from 50 metres.

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Munster then suffered a double injury blow when Keith Earls and Jean Kleyn left the field simultaneously before receiving further setbacks when Hanrahan kicked four penalties in quick succession to put the Welsh region firmly in the driving seat.

Munster were rattled as a Dragons pack, led by the ferocious efforts of Bradley Roberts and Ross Moriarty, tore into them, causing them to turn over possession on a regular basis.

However, they recovered to score the first try when Healy made a sharp break to send Simon Zebo away down the left flank. The wing was brought down by a high tackle from Dyer with a penalty awarded.

It was taken quickly for Archer to crash over with the referee also yellow-carding Dyer for the earlier high challenge.

Moments later, Munster capitalised on Dyer’s absence when Healy evaded a tackle from Rhodri Williams for an easy run-in which the outside half converted to leave his side with a 17-15 half-time advantage.

Four minutes after the restart, with Dyer still in the sin-bin, Dragons blew a golden opportunity to go back in front when they chose a scrum instead of allowing Hanrahan to kick a simple penalty.

The third quarter finished scoreless as the home side declined to take two further chances to kick penalties.

With 11 minutes remaining, Hanrahan had his chance but surprisingly missed with a 40-metre kick but it mattered little as Dyer powered away on a 55-metre run to evade defenders for a splendid individual try.

Dragons fans roared on their heroes and their cause was helped by Munster’s flanker, Jack O’Donoghue, being yellow-carded, with Hanrahan sealing victory with the last kick of the match.

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