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Match Tracker: Munster 9 Borders 8

Match Tracker: Munster 9 Borders 8

Three penalties from the boot of young out-half Jeremy Manning were enough to secure Munster’s first win of the Magners League season.

…Under pressure from Chris Cusiter, Tomas O’Leary tries to release the Munster backs…

Three penalties from the boot of young out-half Jeremy Manning were enough to secure Munster’s first win of the Magners League season.

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MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, September 9

MUNSTER 9 BORDER REIVERS 8, Thomond Park (Att: 6,138)

Scorers: Munster: Pens: Jeremy Manning 3

Borders: Try: Mark Robertson; Pen: Calum MacRae

Full-Time: Munster cling on for a 9-8 win – picking up their first points of the Magners League season. Plenty of grit and determination shown from a Munster squad made up mostly of Academy players and newcomers.

They are away to Glasgow next Friday (Hughenden, kick-off 7.30pm) before a ‘free’ weekend and then their Irish internationals return for the derby clash with Ulster on September 30.

80+3 mins: Borders are pressing for a try, Munster’s discipline has to be at its best as any penalties conceded now and Gregor Townsend, on for MacRae, will certainly punish them with the match-winning kick. But it will not come to that as despite a break up into the Munster 22 by Law and Townsend, the ball is turned over and McGann is adjudged to have been tackled by Ross Ford without the ball.

70 mins: A slick Borders attack, involving Cusiter, Scott Gray and De Luca, has Munster in trouble but more resiliant defence from the hosts keeps their try line intact.

64 mins: Only a perfectly-timed tackle from Ross Ford stops Payne from running in a Munster try in the left corner.

61 mins: BORDERS TRY! Mark Robertson gets in for a debut try. The Borders are right back in it, but MacRae misses the conversion attempt and that could prove costly. The try came from a loose pass in midfield by Manning, Nick De Luca intercepted it, darting clear and through the first line of defence. MacDougall helped him out, taking play up to ten metres from the Munster line and a pass spun out to the left saw Robertson sprint in. Munster 9 Borders 8

50 mins: MUNSTER PENALTY! Manning slots over his third penalty from close-in to the left of the posts. It could be a little bit of history repeating – Munster won last season’s corresponding fixture in Limerick with Manning kicking the winning penalty. Munster 9 Borders 3

48 mins: MacDougall is ruled offside, offering Manning an easy shot at the posts. Munster got plenty of momentum up with Downey, Frankie Sheahan and Chris Wyatt picking and going.

Second Half: The Borders resume the game, Munster get in some early possession play with a drive, initiated by Coughlan, earning them a penalty. Manning lines it up, but his kick just slips away to the right. Still, a positive start from Munster – a try would do their confidence no end of good.

…Tim McGann, Munster’s new recruit from Australia, carries forward…

Half-Time: Hard to know how this one will go, but history points to Munster with six wins in their previous six games against the men from Galashiels. The men in red lead 6-3 at the break – their back row of McGann, O’Sullivan and Coughlan have impressed. Lock Donnacha Ryan is also covering a lot of ground.

40+5 mins: MUNSTER PENALTY! Manning does well to land a penalty from the right after an infringement by Borders prop Gavin Kerr. Munster 6 Borders 3

37 mins: Coughlan, who captained Dolpin last season, adds to his growing reputation as from a turnover, he sidesteps past Borders out-half Steve Jones to the delight of the home crowd.

28 mins: Great pace from Cusiter off a midfield scrum, he releases Garry Law down the right touchline but the move peters out.

27 mins: MUNSTER PENALTY! Manning equalises with a pin-point penalty after Borders centre Ben MacDougall was ruled offside. Munster 3 Borders 3

25 mins: Munster are going through their best spell so far – straight after MacRae’s penalty, Manning’s hanging restart is knocked on by Kelly Brown and the Munster pack rumbles forward off a lineout. They win a kickable penalty but opt for a scrum with youngster Darragh Hurley holding his own against Scottish international Bruce Douglas. The attack, however, comes to nothing.

19 mins: BORDERS PENALTY! Calum MacRae boots over the game’s opening scorer after Munster were adjudged to have gone offside at a ruck. Munster 0 Borders 3

16 mins: Borders’ new winger Mark Robertson shows great pace to break through the midfield and chip over the top of the Munster defence, but lock Donnacha Ryan tracks his run and full-back Payne retrieves the ball and sets up a relieving ruck.

13 mins: Manning has his first shot at the posts but it seems out of his range. It’s a good effort though from the New Zealand-born number 10, who flights the ball just to the right of the posts.

9 mins: A Cusiter break, which brings right up into the Munster 22, is the first test of the hosts’ defensive mettle. They survive with the back row combination of Coughlan, Tim McGann and John O’Sullivan really putting their bodies on the line.

4 mins: A turnover in midfield allows Munster captain John Kelly plenty of space to dart through a gap, Shaun Payne is on his shoulder and James Downey joins in on the left flank but he is bundled into touch.

First Half: Straight from another one of Jeremy Manning’s excellent kick-offs, Munster put the Scots under pressure with new number eight James Coughlan, playing in only his second professional game, charging down a clearance kick from Borders scrum half Chris Cusiter.

Team News: Munster have made three changes to the side that lost to Cardiff Blues last week.

Christian Cullen loses out with Shaun Payne switching to full-back, with Tom Gleeson starting on the right wing. Ian Dowling makes way on the left flank for Mossie Lawlor.

Thre is one alteration in the pack with Academy flanker Ross Noonan seeing his starting berth go to Australian Tim McGann, who has recently signed for the Heineken Cup champions from Eastern Suburbs.

The Borders, who were beaten at home by Connacht last time out, have brought debutants Mark Robertson and Steve Jones in for the trip to Limerick.

Robertson, who played in Scotland’s defeat to Ireland in March’s AIB Club International, is set for his first taste of professional rugby on the left wing, while Jones comes in for Scotland’s most capped player, Gregor Townsend in the number 10 jersey.

Munster: Shaun Payne; Tom Gleeson, John Kelly (capt), James Downey, Mossie Lawlor; Jeremy Manning, Tomas O’Leary; Darragh Hurley, Frankie Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello, Chris Wyatt, Donnacha Ryan, John O’Sullivan, Tim McGann, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Tim Ryan, Andy Kyriacou, Shane O’Connor, Brendan Cuttriss, Gerry Hurley, Eoghan Hickey, Ciaran O’Boyle.

Borders: Calum MacRae; Garry Law, Nick De Luca, Ben MacDougall, Mark Robertson; Steve Jones, Chris Cusiter (capt); Gavin Kerr, Ross Ford, Bruce Douglas, Opeta Palepoi, Stuart Grimes, Scott Gray, Kelly Brown, Ross Beattie.

Replacements: Steve Scott, Ed Kalman, Craig Hamilton, John Dalziel, Brendan McKerchar, Gregor Townsend, Andy Miller.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Touch Judges: Alan Rogan, Tom Horkan (both Ireland)