Munster’s title is under threat after away defeat
For a team of such character, Munster’s performance away to the Dragons was a distinctly uncharacteristic display, and one that leaves the defending Magners League champions in danger of surrendering their title after a 31-22 defeat.
Tim O'Donnell and Tony Buckley added touchdowns to a penalty try but there was little else to enjoy and plenty to be concerned about for Munster as the race for the play-offs enters the final straight.
Munster's veterans were ruffled by Newport's rookies to the extent they were twice ticked off for dissent and were even out-scored when their hosts were reduced to 14 men.
Even more uncharacteristic were the three misses from five attempts at goal by Ronan O'Gara in an anonymous display that will hardly have helped his claim for the Ireland No 10 jersey against Wales on Saturday.
After the game Munster flanker Alan Quinlan was keen not to single anyone out.
“There is always pressure on the kicker but we didn't lose the game because of that,” said Quinlan. “No-one is blaming Ronan — as a team we made far too many mistakes.
“It's not about individuals, the whole team played badly.
“We're very disappointed, especially with the second-half performance. We didn't create enough chances, we made far too many mistakes and they capitalised on them.
“We played around with the ball too much in the second half. When you're away from home, you need to play territory and we didn't do that.”
The defeat was Munster's sixth in seven away games in the league. The one success came against the Scarlets, who they face next.
Two games on the road remain, against Connacht and at Cardiff Blues.