Ulster suffer back-to-back defeats in Rainbow Cup
Ulster suffered a second consecutive defeat in the Rainbow Cup after being outscored six tries to one by Munster at Thomond Park.
Ulster made an impressive start, working the ball through a number of phases and forced a penalty - when Munster lock Tadgh Beirne was punished at the break down, out half Michael Lowry slotted over the kick in the third minute.
Munster centre Rory Scannell got the game’s first try on 10 minutes.
From a scrum on the Ulster 22, No8 Gavin Coombes broke from the base and had the power to drive close to the line.
Munster forwards had another couple of carries before it was spun wide for Scannell to cross by evading Stuart McCloskey’s tackle with JJ Hanrahan converting.
Ireland scrum half Conor Murray got Munster’s second try on 27 minutes.
A sweeping backs move ended with Shane Daly carrying into the Ulster 22, the ball was recycled and moved in-field.
Munster put width on it again centre Dan Goggin wasted a two-on-one overlap, being stopped on the line but Murray sniped over from close range, Hanrahan couldn’t convert from a tight angle.
Marcus Rea won an important turn over on his own line as Munster looked poised to score a third try.
Hanrahan missed a long-range penalty on 36 minutes.
Will Addison was red-carded on 39 minutes for making contact with Rory Scannell’s head with his arm in the tackle.
Under the new rules for the Rainbow Cup, it meant Ulster would be down to 14 men for 20 minutes before they could bring on a different player to replace Addison.
Munster immediately punished Ulster, they kicked the penalty to touch, from the lineout a driving maul was set up which tied in Ulster defenders.
Springbok World Cup-winning centre Damian De Allende hit Mike Haley with a short pass and the full back sped through the gap to touch down, Hanrahan’s conversion gave the home side a 19-7 half-time lead.
Dan McFarland made four changes in the pack at half-time and it instantly paid dividends with a try on 43 minutes.
From a lineout maul Rob Herring charged towards the line, Callum Reid had a big carry, Ulster had a couple of probes before skipper Iain Henderson squeezed over with Lowry converting.
Munster were gifted their bonus point try on 55, Rory Scannell shot out of the defensive line to pick off Lowry’s pass and sprint under the posts, making Hanrahan’s conversion a formality.
The home side cut open the Ulster defence again three minutes later, Goggin ran a hard line in midfield, Hanrahan came on the wrap around and sprinted past a couple of static defenders to glide over and the out half converted his own kick.
Munster skipper Peter O’Mahony was sin-binned on 75 minutes for infringing at the maul.
Munster put the icing on the cake with a length-of-the-field try on 78 minutes, Stuart McCloskey made a rampaging run but James Hume knocked his pass on close to the home side’s line, Nick McCarty led the counter-attack carrying deep into Ulster territory, the ball was moved in-field Rory Scannell put in a well-weighted kick for Andrew Conway to gather and sprint over.
Munster: M Haley, A Conway, D Goggin, R Scannell, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, C Murray, D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan, F Wycherley, T Beirne, P O’Mahony (capt), C Cloete, G Coombes.
Replacements: K O’Byrne for N Scannell 59 mins, J Loughman for Kilcoyne 55 mins, R Salanoa for Ryan 59 mins, J Kleyn for Wycherley 55 mins, CJ Stander for Cloete 55 mins, N McCarthy for Murray 66 mins, B Healy for Hanrahan 66 mins, D de Allende for Goggin 72 mins,
Ulster: J Stockdale, R Lyttle, W Addison, S McCloskey, E McIlroy, M Lowry, A Mathewson, A Warwick, J Andrew, T O’Toole for O’Toole 41 mins, A O’Connor, I Henderson (capt), J Murphy, M Rea, D McCann
Replacements: R Herring for Anderw 41 mins, C Reid for Warwick 41 mins, M Moore; S Carter for Henderson 67 mins, N Timoney for McCann 41 mins , D Shanahan for Mathewson 49 mins, A Curtis for Lowry 62 mins, J Hume for Addison 60 mins
Referee: C Evans (Wales).
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