Six Declan Cusack penalties gave Munster a fully deserved 18-3 win over Nottingham in the British & Irish Cup Pool B clash played at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford on Friday night.
BRITISH & IRISH CUP – POOL B: Friday, February 12
MUNSTER 18 NOTTINGHAM 3, Regional Sports Centre, Waterford
Scorers: Munster: Pens: Declan Cusack 6
Nottingham: Pen: Dave Marshall
In the opening half, Munster out-hald Declan Cusack was on the mark in the 6th, 20th, 25th and 35th minutes to leave his side leading 12-3 at the break.
He added to that with 49th minute penalty, missed his first in the 68th minute but made amends with another good strike with just eight minutes remaining.
Anthony Foley’s men ended the game with 14 men when skipper Peter O’Mahony was yellow carded – following on from Stephen Archer’s sin-binning in the 56th minute – but from the resultant penalty Nottingham, opting for the scrum, were once again thwarted by a committed and tenacious Munster defence.
A 3,500-strong RSC crowd watched Munster make it three wins out of three in the inaugural British & Irish Cup. They made a confident start, edging proceedings in the possession and territory stakes with Cusack turning pressure into points.
Nottingham played second fiddle for much of the opening half, with a penalty from young out-half Dave Marshall their only reward.
The game was more competitive in the second period, especially when the sin-binnings occurred, but with only the pool winners to qualify for the British & Irish Cup semi-finals on April 24, Munster are well-placed to make it through.
MUNSTER: Danny Riordan (UL Bohemians); Ciaran O’Boyle (Garryowen), Danny Barnes (Dolphin), Eric Moloney (Dolphin), Sean Scanlon (UCC); Declan Cusack (Thomond), Conor Murray (Garryowen); Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians), Mike Sherry (Garryowen), Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution), Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution), Dave Foley (UL Bohemians); Ed Kelly (UL Bohemians), Barry O’Mahony (Dolphin), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution) (capt).
Replacements: Ger Slattery (Young Munster), Pa O’Regan (UL Bohemians), Sean Duggan (Shannon), Neville Melbourne (Clonmel), Paul Rowley (UL Bohemians), Andrew Burke (UCC), Barry Murphy (UL Bohemians).
NOTTINGHAM: Andy Savage; Jack Cobden, Tim Streather, Greig Tonks, Donald Blake; Dave Marshall, Dan White; Peter Cook, Greg Sammons, Ben Buxton; Ian Nimmo, Nic Carter; Jonny Baird, Matt Everard, Dan Hemingway.
Replacements: Neil Fowkes, Tom Youngs, Petrus Du Plessis, Nic Rouse, Phil Eggleshaw, Will Nelson, Jamie Barnard.
Referee: David Jones (Wales)