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WATCH: Munster Down to Second After Scarlets Loss | Highlights & Report

Munster came out second best in a low scoring game and are now second best in the table

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Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Munster fell to first defeat in 2019 with 10-6 loss to the Scarlets at a rain swept Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Johann van Graan’s men have now dropped to second in Conference A as their result coupled with Glasgow Warriors 42-10 win over Zebre has given the Scottish side a three-point lead at the summit.

The reds started well and were rewarded four minutes in when Bill Johnston slotted over a penalty following a collapsed scrum.

However, less than 10 minutes later and the Scarlets scored the games only try, with Leigh Halfpenny having a surging run, before Jonny McNicholl sent a pass to fellow wing Ioan Nicholas went over.

Halfpenny sent over the extras and it was 7-3 after 12 minutes.

The rest of the half was spent in the Scarlets half as they defended resiliently as they only had 20 percent possession in the entire half.

Munster couldn’t find any reward until the dying seconds of the half when Uzair Cassiem was caught offside and Johnston sent over his second penalty of the night. That was the final score of the half, and it was 7-6 to the Scarlets at the interval.

The second-half saw only one score which came after 50 minutes when Halfpenny sent a penalty through the posts to extend the hosts lead.

Munster thought they were over for a try of their own when Jean Kleyn crossed the whitewash only for the TMO to rule it out due to a Rhys Marshell obstruction in the lead-up.

The visitors rallied for a try to secure victory of their own, but the Scarlets defence held out to end Munster’s eight-game unbeaten streak and continue their own incredible home record of only one defeat in Wales since September 2016.

Munster will now have to wait until the 23rd of March to try and regain their status at the top of the conference when they face basement side Zebre.

On the other side, the win leaves the Scarlets in third position in Conference B for now and they will look to build on this win when they face the Cardiff Blues a day before Munster host Zebre.

Match Highlights

Pro14

Former Welsh Ace to Hang Up Boots

One of Wales’ former stars has confirmed that he will retire from rugby come the end of the current season

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(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Former Wales back James Hook has announced that he will be calling time on his professional rugby career come the end of the current season.

Hook is contracted to the Ospreys, but with his deal set to end at the end of the campaign he has decided the time has come to pull the curtain on a professional career spanning 16 years. 

“It’s sad but something I’m really looking forward to. It comes to everyone at some point and now it’s time for me. I’ve had lots of highlights, winning Grand Slam titles and Six Nations and going on the Lions tour in 2009. Then signing my first professional contract was a big moment for me. Growing up I always aspired to be a professional rugby player. You never think it’ll actually happen so when it did it really was amazing,” he said in a post on social media. 

The 34-year old picked up a total of 81-caps for Wales to go along with his 148 appearances for the Ospreys. 

As well as his time with the Welsh region Hook had spells at both Top 14 side Perpignan and English Premiership outfit Gloucester between his stints at the Ospreys. 

Hook has admitted he hopes to continue his rugby journey off the pitch, but that he is also looking forward to having more time to spend with his family after such a long time on the playing field. 

“I want to stay involved in the game, particularly working on the skills, like I do now with the young kickers and the age-grade sides, and I’m hoping to finish my level three coaching qualification. It’ll be nice to spend time with my family, my three young boys and my wife. It’s going to be sad not playing at the end of the season, but you’ve got to be positive and look on the bright side and I’m looking forward to what’s next,” he added. 

As well as his rugby career Hook has also written a series of children’s books that are set to be released later this year and that could provide him with something else to venture into if they are successful. 

However, for now he will be hoping that he can help the Ospreys turn around their disastrous season to date before he hangs his boots up for good. 

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Champions Cup

Connacht Set to Lose Big Star

Connacht look set to without one of their key men next season according to reports as he appears set for a move

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Connacht look as though they will have to deal without flanker Colby Fainga’a next season as he appears to be set for a move to French side Lyon according to Irish outlet the42.

They are reporting that the former Rebels man is the Top 14 side’s preferred replacement for the departing Liam Gill, who will leave at the end of this season. 

Connacht were keen to keep their players’ player of the year from last season and had entered contract talks to extend his deal past the original two years, but with talks stalling Lyon have come in with a reported offer of 300,000 euro a season which would be hard to refuse. 

The 28-year-old would be a huge loss to the western province having been such a massive influence since his arrival in 2018. 

However, more positive news for fans is that the back-rower is set to return from a knee injury this weekend against Toulouse, to help Connacht during a period where injuries have severely hampered them. 

It is understood that Connacht would like to replace Fainga’a with another overseas star, but for now they will hope to get the most out of the Aussie between now and the end of the season.

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6 Nations

Carbery Confirms Feelings on Latest Set-Back

Joey Carbery was ruled out for the foreseeable future yesterday and the injury prone star has taken to social media to reach out to his fans

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(Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Munster and Ireland out-half Joey Carbery has admitted he is more than “devastated” following the news that he will be sidelined through injury once again.

Carbery, who had an injury-hit 2019, suffering hamstring injuries that kept him out of large parts of the end of last season, before picking up an ankle injury before Ireland’s Rugby World Cup campaign, suffered a wrist ligament injury during last weekend’s loss to Ulster and will now likely miss the start of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign. 

The fly-half took to social media after the news broke to thank fans for their support during a tough time in his career. 

“Devastation doesn’t even describe how I’m feeling. Thanks for all the well wishes. Been a tough couple of months physically and mentally, and thought I was in the clear. But will be back soon, better than ever,” he said on Instagram. 

It was announced by Munster that the Ireland star will undergo surgery on the injury and he appears set to miss their last two Champions Cup Pool stage matches along with the games with the national team. 

His start against the northern province was his first since last season’s PRO14 semi-final loss to Leinster in May and now fans will have to wait once again for their key man to return to action. 

It is a cruel blow for Carbery, who looked to be in line for a starting role for Ireland in the first couple of rounds of the Six Nations with first-choice fly-half Johnny Sexton also currently sidelined with injury. 

Leinster’s Ross Byrne now appears set to be handed the reins at No 10 for the men in green and if he takes his chance Carbery could find it even harder to get back into the team.

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