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Munster Run Out Impressive Winners In Melrose

Munster Run Out Impressive Winners In Melrose

Munster came good in the second half at the Greenyards to post their first win in this season’s British & Irish Cup – a seven-try 47-14 dismissal of Scottish side Melrose.

Anthony Foley's Munster side came into this game needing a win to keep their Pool B hopes alive, and they found their rhythm in a second half which saw them outscore Melrose by five tries to none.

Foley dubbed the first half 'a dogfight' and that was certainly the case as it was nip and tuck between the sides.

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Munster opened the scoring in the 16th minute when flanker David O'Callaghan drove over after his back row colleague Paddy Butler had tried his luck from the base of a close range scrum. Out-half Declan Cusack supplied the conversion.

Melrose officials and volunteers excelled themselves in getting the pitch ready for the club's British & Irish Cup debut, as the wintry weather hit this area hard.

Edinburgh's Netani Talei, one of three professionals in the Melrose line-up, responded for the home side in the 28th minute. After a series of attacks in the Munster 22, orchestrated by scrum half Rob Chrystie, the big Fijian muscled his way over to the right of the posts, with out-half Scott Wight converting.

Wight added the extras to a second Melrose try, touched down by lock Garry Elder just six minutes later. A well-timed pass from Graeme Dodds sent his second row partner galloping in from the left wing.

Munster levelled the tie on the stroke of half-time as a loose Melrose pass enabled the visitors to launch a break and some neat interplay was finished off by the diving Ivan Dineen in the corner. Cusack's successful conversion made it 14-14.

But Munster went through the gears in the second half, with man-of-the-match Barry Murphy one of the players to enjoy an increased amount of ball.

Last season's beaten finalists coasted clear thanks to tries from centre Tom Gleeson, prop Peter Borlase, winger Danny Barnes and replacement back rower Kieran Essex (2).

Four minutes after the restart, a pass back inside from Cusack set up Gleeson for a well-timed, angled run to the try-line.

Melrose lost winger Dave McColl to the sin-bin and New Zealander Borlase was soon over for his score, plunging over from metres out after a series of pick and go efforts from the forwards.

Barnes' 56th-minute try came from a kick to the right corner from full-back Scott Deasy. Home winger Callum Anderson failed to ground the bouncing ball for a 22-metre drop out and Barnes dashed in to get the touchdown.

Two more tries from the energetic Essex, in the closing seven minutes, completed a satisfying second half for Foley's charges.

A break from Troy Smith set up fellow replacement Essex for a quick dummy and run to the whitewash, and he doubled his tally by diving over at the base of an advancing five-metre scrum.

Click here to view highlights of the game, courtesy of Borders Rugby TV.

Referee: Ian Tempest (England)