Pro14: Munster 19-7 Scarlets

Pro14: Munster v Scarlets
Munster (5) 19
Tries: Hart, Copeland, Wootton Con: Keatley 2
Scarlets (7) 7
Try: A Davies Con: Patchell

Munster stayed on course for a home quarter-final in the Pro14 as they ground out victory over Scarlets.

Aled Davies' try gave the Scarlets an early lead as their running game hinted at a repeat of their thumping Pro14 final win over Munster last May.

But James Hart's try cut Scarlets' lead to 7-5 by half-time at Thomond Park.

As Munster took over, Robin Copeland's try put them ahead and after a James Cronin score was wrongly disallowed, Alex Wootton added a late touchdown.

Poor Munster kicking early on allowed Scarlets numerous attacking opportunities as their fast running and slick handling threatened to overwhelm the home team.

However, Munster's pack managed to take the tempo out of the contest with man of the match Copeland particularly impressive and replacement Dave O'Callaghan also making a major impact.

But the match will also be remembered for referee Marius Mitrea's astonishing decision to disallow Cronin's 70th-minute score after adjudging, following consultation with his television match official, that the prop had made a double movement as he reached to score after crashing to the turf.

Disallowed try infuriates home crowd

Mitrea's contentious call infuriated the home crowd as it kept Scarlets in the contest and tempers were threatening to further fray when the Italian referee asked for Wootton's late score to be looked at by the TMO before the possibility of a forward pass to the wing was ruled out.

Earlier, scrum-half Davies had finished off a glorious move to put Scarlets ahead with Aaron Shingler, Rhys Patchell, Paul Asquith, Tom Williams and James Davies all involved.

But after Wootton had a length-of-the-field intercept try ruled out for his own knock-on, Munster finally began to play the game on their terms as their pack began to exert control.

Scrum-half Hart's dart off the base of a scrum saw him open Munster's account in the 28th minute after a series of forward drives.

Munster's pack continued to maintain a stranglehold on the contest in the second half as Connacht-bound Copeland burrowed his way over the line following Tommy O'Donnell's great initial work.

It proved O'Donnell's final action of the match as he departed with a shoulder injury and he must now be a doubt for next weekend's Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulon.

Cronin's disallowed try inflamed home passions in the closing stage before the lively Wootton finished his evening with a deserved try.

Munster: JJ Hanrahan; Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, James Hart; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (capt); Jack O'Donoghue, Tommy O'Donnell, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Gerbrandt Grobler, Dave O'Callaghan, Jack Stafford, Stephen Fitzgerald, Dan Goggin.

Scarlets: Tom Williams; Tom Varndell, Scott Williams (capt), Paul Asquith, Steff Evans; Rhys Patchell, Aled Davies, Dylan Evans, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Tadhg Beirne, David Bulbring, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Will Boyde.

Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Phil Price, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, Josh Macleod, Jonathan Evans, Dan Jones, Steff Hughes

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)

Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi (FIR), Manuel Bottino (FIR)

TMO: Matteo Liperini (FIR)

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