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Munster ‘A’ Run Five Tries Past Rotherham
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Munster ‘A’ Run Five Tries Past Rotherham

Munster ‘A’ Run Five Tries Past Rotherham

The Munster ‘A’ team crossed for five tries in recording a 35-24 bonus point win away to Rotherham Titans in round e of the British & Irish Cup at Clifton Lane this afternoon.

Leading 21-10 at half-time through a Te Aihe Toma try, a James Cronin brace and pinpoint conversions from the boot of Bill Johnston, the province responded to a second half comeback from the hosts with another brace, this time from Academy hooker Vincent O'Brien after excellent work at maul time.

Mixing experience with emerging talent, Peter Malone featured senior, Academy and club players in today's 22-man squad. And while discipline may concern the Munster 'A' head coach after Cronin, Toma and Darren O'Shea all spent time in the sin-bin, overall Malone will be happy with his side's endeavour as they were full value for their 11-point victory.

Making the perfect start, Munster 'A' applied all the early pressure with a sustained attack that netted the game's first try. With captain Dave Foley claiming an early lineout close to the Rotherham whitewash, there was no stopping the men in red as prop Cronin crossed on eight minutes with Ireland Under-20 out-half Johnston landing the conversion.

The next opportunity came the way of the hosts when Munster 'A' went offside in defence. Kicking to the corner, Rotherham were held up over the line as their pack looked to punish Malone's charges though the maul. But off the subsequent five-metre scrum, a switch in midfield and an excellent Juan Pablo Estelles line saw the centre touch down for Titans' opening try. Caolan Ryan's extras levelled the game after 23 minutes.

Determined momentum would not shift the way of the English Championship outfit, Munster 'A' soon upped the ante, keeping Rotherham firmly planted in their own half and, on his Munster 'A' debut, scrum half Toma provided lively service as backs and forwards looked to make the hard yards and apply massive pressure in attack.

On 29 minutes, after Alex Wootton made excellent headway, Toma and Dan Walsh combined to put Munster 'A' back in front at 14-7. Spinning quick ruck ball out to Walsh, Toma did well to take the return pass from the flanker and touch down by the posts. Johnston had the easiest of conversions.

A Ryan penalty for a Munster 'A' scrum infringement reduced the gap to four points before the visitors scored at an opportune time. Attacking hard off a restart, the province went from touchline to touchline and after a series of quick rucks, Ireland international and injury returnee Cronin was in under the posts for his second try. Another easy tap-over for Johnston and Munster 'A' took a 21-10 lead into the interval.

Cronin did, however, see yellow for a neck roll at the breakdown before the first half was out, and a hugely positive start from Rotherham on the resumption kept Munster 'A' very much on the back foot.

Titans were rewarded for their efforts when replacement Santi Socino dotted down off a powerful maul. Ryan's conversion put just four points between the sides (21-17) and the game was well and truly on. Or so one would have thought.

Instead, Munster 'A' raised their intensity and tempo up front, and in the subsequent few minutes they put the game beyond the hosts with two textbook mauls. O'Brien touched down for both tries, one a carbon copy of the other with the 19-year-old Johnston on the money with each conversion and kicking five from five on the day.

It is testament to Munster 'A' that, despite conceding a late penalty try – Toma deliberately knocking on – and losing both the scrum half and O'Shea to the bin late on, they had still done enough to secure the win and take home maximum points from their trip to Clifton Lane.

Sunday week gives Munster fans in and around Clare the chance to cheer on Munster 'A' when they bring the return Rotherham fixture to Ennis RFC (kick-off 2pm). Tickets can be bought at the ground on matchday, while entry is free for all Munster Rugby Supporters Club members and Ten-Year Ticket holders.

Referee: Rhys Thomas (Wales)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Will Goodwin; Dan Tai, Juan Pablo Estelles, Oli Bryant, Tom Collins; Caolan Ryan, Matt Dudman; Joe Hutchinson, Joe Graham (capt), Danny Herriott, Toby Salmon, Tom Hicks, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Lewis Ludlam, Dan Grange.

Replacements used: Matt Walsh for Goodwin, Santi Socino for Graham (both half-time), Tom MacDonald for Grange (47 mins), Miles Normandale for Salmon (58), Dan Kellu for Tai (60), Ian Williams for Herriott (64), Tom Williams for Hutchinson (73).

Away Team

Alex Wootton; Calvin Nash, David Johnston, Sam Arnold, Greg O'Shea; Bill Johnston, Te Aihe Toma; James Cronin, Vincent O'Brien, Brian Scott, Dave Foley (capt), Darren O'Shea, Sean O'Connor, Dan Walsh, Robin Copeland.

Replacements used: Evan Mintern for S O'Connor (2 mins), Cian Bohane for Wootton (51), James Lennon for O'Shea, Steve Crosbie for B Johnston (both 62), O'Connor for Walsh (72). Not used: Liam O'Connor, Peter McCabe, John Madigan.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Juan Pablo Estelles, Santi Socino, Penalty Try; Cons: Caolan Ryan 3; Pen: Caolan Ryan

Away Team

Tries: Te Aihe Toma, James Cronin 2, Vincent O'Brien 2; Cons: Bill Johnston 5