Albion beaten after failing to take chances
Plymouth Albion were given a lesson in how to be clinical by Munster's young guns during a 26-22 defeat at Brickfields.
Although Albion enjoyed more possession and territory, particularly in the first half of Saturday's opening British & Irish Cup fixture, it was holders Munster A who returned home to Ireland with four points after condemning Nat Saumi's side to their first home defeat of the season.
In the opening 40 minutes, Munster scored points on virtually every foray into Albion's half while the hosts wasted good positions in the opening period, including turning down five kickable penalties.
That failure to turn early pressure into points came back to haunt them after a late Aaron Carpenter try left them just one score behind going into the final few minutes.
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However, had Albion scored a last-gasp try to win the game then Munster would probably have gone home criticising the behaviour of a couple of so-called Plymouth fans.
Four minutes from time Munster were awarded a penalty that would have put them seven points in front, but just as centre JJ Hanrahan went to strike the ball an air horn sounded from the crowd and he missed. It was not the first time in the game it had happened.
After turning down kicks at goal, Albion, keen to prove a point after their 55-17 Championship hammering at Bedford last time out, had four line-outs close to Munster's line in the opening six minutes but could not force their way over.
It was Munster who took the lead against the run of play in the 12th minute.
Albion got turned over in the opposition half and Munster counter-attacked at pace with Hanrahan and Felix Jones involved before the ball came out to winger Corey Hircock, who dived over in the right corner.
Within minutes Munster had scored a second try. Albion gave a penalty away from the restart and then gave another away deep in their own half. Munster took the second one quickly and eventually the ball found its way to Hircock again and he powered over. Hanrahan found the mark to put Munster 12-0 up.
Albion got a lifeline in the 19th minute when Munster had lock Ian Nagle sin-binned and Paul Roberts put over the penalty but Munster did not let having a man less upset them and they restored their 12-point lead with a Hanrahan penalty three minutes later.
Albion had two more five-metre line-outs while they had a man advantage but failed to force their way over. However, Saumi's side did get the breakthrough on 36 minutes.
Munster gave away a penalty in their own half for offside and Albion took it quickly. Roberts put in a hopeful grubber kick and although it appeared the visitors were going to get back to ground it ahead of Henry Slade, the young full-back speeded up and although it seemed both players got to the ball at the same time, photographic evidence later appeared to show Munster player had in fact got the first touch.
After talking to his touch-judge, the referee he awarded Albion the try, which Roberts brilliantly converted to put Albion just five points behind.
However, the home side gave away another penalty from the restart and Munster went for touch and pressed. Fly-half Scott Deasy put in a cross-field kick and there was lock Nagle waiting at the corner flag to flop over and make it 20-10.
Albion hit back with a try from Canadian lock Brett Beukeboom from close range from a line-out after a great kick for touch from a penalty on halfway by Roberts.
However, after the break Beukeboom was sin-binned for blocking a Munster player and Hanrahan kicked the penalty.
The game suddenly came to life in the final ten minutes. Hanrahan looked to have secured the game for Munster when he kicked a third penalty in the 70th minute to make it 26-15 but Albion set up a tight finish when Canada captain Carpenter scored from close range four minutes later.
Roberts brilliantly converted to make 26-22.