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Munster Rugby 14 London Irish 19
Munster Rugby played their second pre-season friendly game in a week when hosting London Irish at Musgrave Park on Friday night.
It was a return to the Cork venue for former Munster Head Coach and current London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney. The Corkman confirmed prior to the start of the game that a different side would play each half.
The game was an opportunity for Munster’s new coaching ticket to experiment with players prior to their opening game of the United Rugby Championship (URC) away to Cardiff in two weeks’ time.
Three tries, a pair of them converted, for London Irish saw them claim the win in Cork, as the home side crossed for two tries, both of which Jack Crowley successfully converted.
London Irish took the lead within the opening two minutes of the game when fullback James Stokes touched down in the corner for the visitors. The conversion which followed from Paddy Jackson was successful, giving Declan Kidney’s side a 7-0 advantage.
Despite London Irish pressure in the opening 15 minutes of the game, the home side resisted the Exiles challenge, as the visitors were guilty of coughing up some penalties when deep in Munster territory.
The visitors extended their lead within minutes of the half-time whistle when winger Matt Williams crossed for his sides second five-pointer of the night. With a difficult conversion attempt from the touchline, Paddy Jackson failed to add the extras, leaving the Exiles with a 12-0 lead at the interval.
Half-time: Munster Rugby 0 London Irish 12
Mike Haley, who replaced Simon Zebo at fullback for the second half of the game, opened the Munster scoring when touching down for a try in the 46th minute. An excellent conversion from kicker Jack Crowley, from out on the touchline, narrowed the gap to just five points, Munster 5 London Irish 12.
With numerous handling errors, as would be expected at this stage of the year, the game never achieved any level of fluency for either side.
With numerous changes soon coming to the London Irish team, the visitors claimed their third try of the game when Tom Hitchcock sprinted clear for a try. With Jacob Atkins successfully converting – shortly before being replaced – the Exiles pushed their advantage out to 7-19 with little over 20 minutes to play.
When Paddy Patterson scored a try just under the posts with less than 10 minutes left to play on the clock, he gave the home side some hope of taking the victory. Jack Crowley added his second successful conversion of the night from directly in front of the posts, and Graham Rowntree’s men were within 5 points of the visitors.
Munster conceded a penalty with 90 second remaining to put an end to their chances of winning this game. Paddy Jackson kicked for the touchline to use up as much time as possible. Despite another few phases of play, Munster could not reduce the deficit, leaving London Irish as 19-14 victors of the Jack Wakefield Trophy at Musgrave Park.
Final score: Munster Rugby 14 London Irish 19
Munster starting team:
15. Simon Zebo, 14. Calvin Nash, 13. Chris Farrell, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Shane Daly, 10. Ben Healy, 9. Neil Cronin.
1. Josh Wycherley, 2. Scott Buckley, 3. Keynan Knox, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Eoin O’Connor, 6. Fineen Wycherley, 7. Jack O’Donoghue (captain), 8. Alex Kendellen.
Diarmuid Barron, Chris Moore, Roman Salanoa, Liam O’Connor, Edwin Edogbo, Thomas Ahern, Cian Hurley, Daniel Okeke, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, Liam Coombes, Malakai Fekitoa, Antoine Frisch, Tony Butler, Mike Haley.
London Irish starting team
15. James Stokes, 14. Matt Williams, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Benhard van Rensburg, 11. Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10. Paddy Jackson, 9. Ben White.
1. Facundo Gigena, 2. Matt Cornish, 3. Ollie Hoskins, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Adam Coleman, 6. Ben Donnell, 7. Tom Pearson, 8. Josh Basham.
London Irish Replacements:
Josh Caulfield, Lovejoy Chawatama, Jack Cooke, Chandler Cunningham-South, Isaac Curtis-Harris, Danilo Fischetti, Isaac Miller, Api Ratuniyarawa, Jacob Atkins, Caolan Englefield, Alex Harmes, Tom Hitchcock, Rory Jennings, Luca Morisi.
Try: Mike Haley, Paddy Patterson.
Conv: Jack Crowley (2).
Try: James Stokes, Matt Williams, Tom Hitchcock.
Conv: Paddy Jackson, Jacob Atkins.
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