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Munster Rugby 14 London Irish 19
Munster Rugby played their second pre-season friendly in a week when they hosted 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. Corkman confirmed before the start of the game that each half would play a different team.
The game was an opportunity for Munster’s new coaching ticket to test the players ahead of their United Rugby Championship (URC) opener in Cardiff in two weeks’ time.
Three tries, a pair of them converted, saw the Irish claim their victory in Cork for London, as the home side crossed for two tries, both of which were successfully converted by Jack Crowley.
London Irish took the lead within two minutes of the game when fullback James Stokes touched down in the corner for the visitors. Paddy Jackson’s subsequent conversion 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 relegation challenge, as the visitors were guilty of coughing up some penalties deep in Munster territory.
The visitors extended their lead minutes from the half-time whistle when winger Matt Williams crossed for his side’s second five-pointer of the night. With a difficult conversion effort from the touchline, Paddy Jackson failed to add the extra, leaving the Exiles trailing 12-0 at the interval.
Half-time: Munster Rugby 0 London Irish 12
In the second half
Mike Haley, who replaced Simon Zebo at fullback in the second half of the game, opened the Munster scoring when he touched down for a try in the 46th minute. A fine conversion from kicker Jack Crowley, from just outside the touchline, narrowed the gap to just five points, Munster 5 London Irish 12.
With a number of handling errors, as would be expected at this stage of the year, the game did not achieve any level of fluency for either side in the opening half hour.
With many changes soon to be made to the London Irish team, the visitors claimed their third try of the game as Tom Hitchcock sprinted clear for the try. With Jacob Atkins successfully converting – moments before being substituted – the Exiles pushed their advantage to 7-19 with more than 20 minutes to play.
Paddy Patterson gave the home side some hope of victory when he fired a try under the posts with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. 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 seconds left to end their chances of winning the game. Paddy Jackson kicked for the touchline to use up as much time as possible. Despite a few more phases of play, Munster were unable to reduce the deficit, leaving London Irish 14–19 winners in the Jack Wakefield Trophy at Musgrave Park in Cork.
Final score: Munster Rugby 14 London Irish 19
Munster starting squad:
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 Kendelen.
Diarmuid Barron, Chris Moore, Roman Salanoa, Liam O’Connor, Edwin Edogbo, Thomas Ahern, Cian Hurley, Daniel Okeke, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, Liam Coombes, Malakai Fekito, 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 Replacement:
Josh Caulfield, Lovejoy Chawatama, Jack Cook, Chandler Cunningham-South, Isaac Curtis-Harris, Danilo Fischetti, Isaac Miller, Opie Ratunyarwa, Jacob Atkins, Caolan Englefield, Alex Hermes, Tom Hitchcock, Rory Jennings, Luca Morrissey.
Try: Mike Haley, Paddy Patterson.
Conversion: Jack Crowley (2).
Try: James Stokes, Matt Williams, Tom Hitchcock.
Conversion: Paddy Jackson, Jacob Atkins.
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