MUNSTER COACH ROB PENNEY has won his first match with the province after a strong second-half performance saw his side emerge on the satisfactory side of a 24-9 scoreline.
Three Adrain Jarvis penalties put Bristol in front, 9-3, at half-time but an altered front-eight packed down for the second-half at Musgrave Park and pressure soon turned to points.
Munster, starting Caey Laulala and James Downey in the centre for the first time, found that their task of a comeback was made easier after referee Dudley Phillips yellow-carded Bristol’s David McIlwaine for a clear obstruction on the charging Luke O’Dea.
Ian Keatley, who had kicked a first-half penalty, opted to punt for the corner. Munster secured the line-out ball and piled forward through a driving maul.
Young prop Dave Kilcoyne emerged from a pile of bodies to be credited with a try, which Keatley then converted.
The score gave the home side the impetus to pile forward. They were rewarded for their territorial advantage when scrum-half Duncan Williams pounced on a loose ball after Dave O’Callaghan, a half-time sub along with BJ Botha, went close.
Keatley converted again as Williams left the field to be replaced by Peter Stringer. The rousing ovation was shared equalling for the scrum-halves.
Laulala did not get too much space in a congested midfield but his defensive effort was impressive.
A quadruple change on 60 minutes led to another ovation for departing captain Doug Howlett. One of the replacements,
Sean Scanlon, then put the tie beyond doubt as he dived over under the posts with four minutes to go, following great play in the build-up by Johne Murphy.