Munster Rugby 14 London Irish 19

Credit: @londonirish.

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Munster Rugby 14 London Irish 19

Munster Rugby play their second pre-season friendly game in a week when they host London Irish at Musgrave Park on Friday night.

It is a return to the Cork venue for former Munster Head Coach and current London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney. The Corkman confirmed before the start of the game that a different side would play in each half.

The game is an opportunity for Munster’s new coaching ticket to experiment with the players ahead of their opening United Rugby Championship (URC) game away to Cardiff in two weeks’ time.

Three tries, a pair of them converted, for London Irish saw them claim victory in Cork, as the home side crossed for two tries, both successfully converted by Jack Crowley.

First half

London Irish took the lead in the opening two minutes of the game when fullback James Stokes headed over in the corner for the visitors. Paddy Jackson’s subsequent conversion was successful, giving Declan Kidney’s side a 7-0 lead.

Despite pressure from London Irish in the opening 15 minutes of the game, the home side resisted the Exiles’ challenge, as the visitors were guilty of coughing up several penalties when inside Munster territory.

The visitors extended their lead within minutes of the half-time whistle when winger Matt Williams crossed for his side’s 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

Second Half

Mike Haley, who replaced Simon Zebo at fullback for the second half of the game, opened Munster’s scoring when he touched down for a try in the 46th minute. A great conversion from kicker Jack Crowley, from outside the touchline, narrowed the gap to just five points, Munster 5 London Irish 12.

With many handling errors, as expected at this stage of the year, the game never achieved any level of fluency for either side in the opening half-hour.

With many changes imminent in the London Irish team, the visitors claimed their third try of the game when Tom Hitchcock ran clear for a try. With Jacob Atkins successfully converting – moments before being substituted – the Exiles pushed their advantage to 7-19 with just 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 securing victory. Jack Crowley added his second successful conversion of the night from right in front of the posts, and Graham Rowntree’s men were within 5 points of the visitors.

Munster conceded a penalty with 90 seconds remaining to end their chances of winning this game. Paddy Jackson kicked the touchline to use up as much time as possible. Despite several spells of play, Munster were unable to reduce the deficit, leaving London Irish 14-19 winners of the Jack Wakefield Trophy at Musgrave Park in Cork.

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 Kendelen.

Replacements:

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 Substitutes:

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.

Scorers:

Munster Rugby:

Try: Mike Haley, Paddy Patterson.

conv: Jack Crowley (2).

London Irish:

Try: James Stokes, Matt Williams, Tom Hitchcock.

conv: Paddy Jackson, Jacob Atkins.

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