Taute lays platform for commanding Munster win over Newport Gwent Dragons
Munster centre Jaco Taute registered two first-half tries to put the Guinness PRO12 leaders on their way to 14 wins in 15 games following a bonus-point 45-17 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at Thomond Park.
Taute crossed the line either side of Andrew Conway's score while Munster were awarded a penalty try to take a 31-10 half-time lead, with Rhys Buckley hitting back for the Dragons.
But Munster already had their bonus point sewn up at half-time and they had 10 minutes at the start of the second half with Dragons full-back Carl Meyer in the sin-bin.
And after Munster did not make use of their own one-man advantage on the scoreboard, replacement Darren O'Shea was sent to the bin for Munster and Elliott Dee touched down for Dragons.
But any chance of a losing bonus point for the Welsh went when Ireland international loosehead Dave Kilcoyne scored Munster's fifth try and Ronan O'Mahony made it six to complete a commanding triumph for in-form Munster.
Munster began well and out-half Tyler Bleyendaal kicked their first penalty seven minutes in after Tyler Morgan tackled Rory Scannell high.
But Dragons went down-field straight away and a Dorian Jones chip over the Munster defensive line saw Morgan break. Munster held Newport up short, but the visitors forced a penalty and Jones converted.
It was 3-3 after 11 minutes but the Munster forwards put in all the work before Duncan Williams' pass sent Taute over for a try in the 14th minute.
Bleyendaal converted and then brilliantly set up Conway's try. The fly-half intercepted a pass near his own line and kicked down-field for Conway to re-gather and touch down.
Bleyendaal converted again and Munster led 17-3 after 20 minutes. However it got worse for the visitors when Springbok Taute scored his second try in the 28th minute.
Bleyendaal added the extras again and despite a consolatory try from Buckley in the 37th minute, Munster secured the bonus point before half-time.
Williams' pass was about to send replacement Dan Goggin over in the corner, but a deliberate knock-on from Meyer meant that the Dragons number 15 got yellow and Munster had a penalty try.
Munster led 31-10 at half-time but after O'Shea got a yellow card for a shoulder charge on Jones at ruck-time, the Dragons pressurised their opponents and mauled their way over the home side's line for Dee's try in the 59th minute.
Dragons trailed 31-17 at that stage and the losing bonus point was in sight but Kilcoyne touched down in the 64th minute and O'Mahony in the dying seconds.