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Duncan Casey at double as Munster men move up to third

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Off to France: Duncan Casey

Off to France: Duncan Casey

?INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Off to France: Duncan Casey

Munster moved up to third in the Guinness Pro12 after claiming a bonus-point 38-12 victory over a tame Newport Gwent Dragons outfit at Rodney Parade.

Hooker Duncan Casey scored two of the five Munster tries, with number eight Robin Copeland, centre Andrew Smith and wing Ronan O'Mahony all crossing the Dragons line, while fly-half Ian Keatley landed a penalty and converted all of the tries.

The Dragons were reliant on full-back Geraint Rhys Jones for their points via four penalties and their performance, after some excellent displays, was so poor the home fans booed them off the pitch.

The Dragons led briefly at the start when Jones booted the first of his penalties.

But Munster gained the initiative and territory as fly-half Keatley played a tactically astute opening quarter, bombing the Dragons back line and sending kicks towards the home 22 which forced their retreat.

From one of these attacking kicks to the touchline, Munster grabbed the first try when Keatley sent the home forwards back-peddling to their line for Copeland to pick up, drive left and dive over for the touchdown.

The game turned scrappy after that although Newport went 9-7 ahead as Jones kicked a second penalty form 27 metres and added a third just after the half-hour.

Keatley regained the lead for Munster with a 40-metre penalty two minutes after the break and soon the Irish side stretched their lead to eight points as they grabbed a second try.

It came after Cathal Sheridan had charged down a clearance kick in the home 22 and, from a line-out, Munster gained control for Casey to plough over from a few metres on the left blindside.

It was all Munster as the Dragons struggled to get out of their own half, with Smith running in the third try unopposed after being laid off by JJ Hanrahan.

The Welsh crowd had some relief when Jones landed his fourth penalty but Munster, in the shape of Hanrahan at full-back, re-discovered their tactical kicking game and forced the home side backwards.

Casey got Munster's bonus point try with his second score of the match, again from an attacking forward move, in the last five minutes and O'Mahony rubbed salt into the wound when he snatched a grubber kick to the corner for the fifth Munster try.

Belfast Telegraph