Munster rounded off their preparations for the start of the Magners League campaign with a two-try win over Gloucester at Musgrave Park.
PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY MATCH: Friday, August 27
MUNSTER 15 GLOUCESTER 10, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Munster: Tries: Wian du Preez, Alan Quinlan; Con: Paul Warwick; Pen: Paul Warwick
Gloucester: Try: Tim Taylor; Con: Tim Taylor; Pen: Tim Taylor
After last weekend’s defeat to Leicester Tigers, Tony McGahan made a number of changes in personnel to his side for the province’s final pre-season game.
Alan Quinlan, Tony Buckley, Damien Varley, Peter Stringer, Felix Jones, Ian Nagle and Doug Howlett were all added to the starting line-up.
Mick O’Driscoll and Niall Ronan both made appearances from the bench and there was also a first Munster start for Johne Murphy, who partnered fellow newcomer Sam Tuitupou at centre.
Gloucester, who begin their Aviva Premiership campaign next Saturday away to Exeter Chiefs, went into the game at Musgrave Park having already recorded pre-season wins over the Scarlets and the Ospreys.
Paul Warwick missed a straight-forward penalty with 12 minutes played, but the Munster out-half made no mistake with another penalty two minutes later to give the home side a 3-0 lead.
The opening try of the game came in the 18th minute and it went the way of the visitors. Having hacked on and won the race to the ball, out-half Tim Taylor touched down under the posts for Gloucester. He also added the conversion to put his side 7-3 in front.
Wian du Preez is back for a second spell with Munster this season and the 27-year-old South African prop got in for Munster’s first try in the 35th minute, following a Tommy O’Donnell lineout take and subsequent drive from the pack.
Warwick added the extras to give Munster a 10-7 lead at the interval.
The hosts made an excellent start to the second half and added a second try inside four minutes when flanker Quinlan drove over the line, once again after some terrific mauling from the Munster forwards. But Warwick failed with the conversion attempt, albeit from a very difficult angle.
Taylor added another penalty for Gloucester in the 64th minute, but that was to be the final score of the game as Munster held on for a deserved victory – a last-ditch cover tackle from Felix Jones, in the dying minutes, helping them on their way.
Speaking after the game, Munster boss Tony McGahan said: “We were disappointed with the outcome last week (against Leicester) and there was a desire to improve on that. I think we achieved that objective.
“I think they worked very hard out there. There were some good individual performances but overall it was a good squad effort and gives us a boost going into the competitive arena next week.”
McGahan’s charges play their first competitive game of the new season when they take on Italian newcomers Aironi in the Magners League in Cork next Saturday evening.
MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Doug Howlett, Johne Murphy, Sam Tuitupou, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Tony Buckley, Ian Nagle, Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Tommy O’Donnell, Denis Leamy (capt).
Replacements used: Denis Fogarty for Varley (half-time), Niall Ronan for O’Donnell (47 mins), Duncan Williams for Stringer, Mick O’Driscoll for Nagle (51), Billy Holland for Quinlan, Stephen Archer for Buckley (both 55), Scott Deasy for Tuitupou (58), Donnacha Ryan for du Preez, Simon Zebo for Howlett (both 64), Peter O’Mahony for Leamy (69), Danny Barnes for Murphy, Ivan Dineen for Warwick (both 72).
GLOUCESTER: Olly Morgan; James Simpson-Daniel, Tim Molenaar, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, Tom Voyce; Tim Taylor, Rory Lawson; Alasdair Dickinson, Scott Lawson, Pierre Capdevielle, Willl James, Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Andrew Hazell, Luke Narraway (capt).
Replacements used: Dave Attwood for Brown (half-time), Peter Buxton for Strokosch (45 mins), Brett Deacon for Narraway (51), Darren Dawidiuk for S Lawson (54), Henry Trinder for Fuimaono-Sapolu (56), Jordi Pasqualin for R Lawson (59), Yann Thomas for Dickinson, Rupert Harden for Capdevielle, Charlie Sharples for Morgan, Matt Cox for Simpson-Daniel, Jonny May for Voyce (all 66).
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)