Wednesday night saw a Munster Development team lose narrowly to Russian outfit Enisei STM at Musgrave Park, with the visitors prevailing on a 31-28 scoreline.
This was the fourth time the teams have met in five years and the latest encounter saw the Russians score their second win on the trot over Munster.
Enisei displayed dominance up front for the first 15 minutes, the visitors getting the better of Munster in both the scrum and maul.
Keeping it tight at first, Enisei then spread it wide, sending their out-half over the line close to the posts after four minutes.
Munster had little of the ball for the opening quarter of the an hour and did not help themselves by failing to secure their own lineout ball, missing touch from a penalty and running the ball into touch on a couple of occasions.
The home side eventually got a foothold in the game after 16 minutes when a great run from Niall Kenneally saw full-back Steve McMahon run in their first try. Lansdowne clubman Tom Kiersey was on hand to convert.
The Enisei forwards continued to prove formidable opposition with a number of lineout steals and they were effective in neutralising the Munster maul. The pressure ultimately saw Munster penalised for repeated offside and centre Dan Goggin received ten minutes in the sin-bin.
The second 20 minutes treated onlookers to a wealth of tries, Darren Moroney with an intercept try after 27 minutes and the Enisei full-back replying just minutes later.
The try of the half went to Munster full-back McMahon whose dancing footwork saw him beat a number of defenders for a high quality score.
Alex Wootton brought the first half to a happy conclusion for the hosts, picking up loose ball from the side of a ruck and running the length of the pitch to score. With Kiersey kicking all conversions, Munster led 28-12 at half-time.
Half-time saw the introduction of Lee Nicholas and Greg O’Shea for Munster but the home side failed to kick on from their impressive end to the first half and it was the visitors who drew first blood with a try on 51 minutes.
Munster’s defence was caught napping when a number of missed tackles saw Enisei through again in quick succession in the 60th and 64th minutes respectively.
With all replacements introduced during the second half Munster continued to struggle up front, often failing to secure their own lineout ball and Enisei won most of the contested ball on the ground.
The Russian side were eventually penalised for not releasing in the tackle and had one of their forwards yellow carded.
Rather than go for the posts to level the game, Munster chose to kick to touch and take a lineout deep inside the visitors 22. Unfortunately, the lineout again malfunctioned for Munster with Enisei winning back possession.
That was to be the last attacking opportunity for either side with the visitors claiming a fine 31-28 comeback victory.
Overall it was a productive contest for the province’s Development outfit with all players getting game-time against a very physical Russian team.
MUNSTER DEVELOPMENT XV: Steve McMahon; Darren Moroney, Dan Goggin, Niall Kenneally, Alex Wootton; Tom Kiersey, Jamie Glynn; Niall Horan, Kevin O’Byrne, Mike Lynch, Sean McCarthy, Joe McSwiney, Diarmuid Dee, Ryan Murphy, Jack O’Donoghue (capt).
Replacements: Sean McNulty, Conor Glynn, Ger Sweeney, Lee Nicholas, John Madigan, Shane Buckley, Aidan Butler, Luke Cahill, Brian Haugh, Sam Sterling, Harry McNulty, Greg O’Shea.