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Match Report: Munster Rugby 14, London Irish 19

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London Irish capped off their pre-season in style with a fine 19-14 win over Munster Rugby to pick up the Jack Wakefield Memorial Trophy at Musgrave Park, Cork.

On the night of Declan Kidney’s return to his hometown, his side put on a showcase of fine rugby on both sides of the ball from the outset, James Stokes converting a flowing move from the backs in the opening couple of minutes.

Matt Williams bookended the opening half with his own score, building on an impressive showing in Jersey after his positional counterpart Ollie Hassell-Collins’ defensive shift served as a precursor to the second try.

In his first appearance since becoming a capped England player, Henry Arundell picked up where he left off last season with a blistering five-pointer that was sandwiched between two Munster scores courtesy of Mike Haley and Paddy Patterson that proved not enough from the hosts on the evening.

Kidney’s Exiles could not have dreamed of a more perfect start, working their way out to the right wing channel as Paddy Jackson found five eighth partner Benhard van Rensburg, who then charged forward before passing to Ollie Hassell-Collins.

The latter passed onto fellow outside back James Stokes, who, with much to do, navigated an avenue through the red rearguard with sublime acceleration that took the home side by surprise to finish well in the corner.

Jackson’s extras, from the touchline, split the posts at Musgrave Park and Irish were seven points to the good, with Munster frustration continuing with a lineout deemed not straight from referee Chris Busby.

After each side could not get the upper hand from the opening scrums, Munster were penalised for being in at the side from a ruck and Jackson nudged Irish into the opposition 22.

The resultant phases eventually ended in a reversal of ball possession in favour of the province after a knock-on, but van Rensburg recovered well when Simon Zebo threatened on a potential breakaway.

Good groundwork in midfield from Stokes then enabled Irish progression with a penalty, yet an Irish seal off at a threatening maul prevented a chance of a second score.

Quick hands and smart dummy runs characterised Irish’s opening attacking play, meaning the visitors always seemed a step ahead of the Red Army in the opening quarter.

Matt Williams proved his kicking credentials after last weekend once more in successive phases, keeping the ball in play when a foot in touch seemed likely to then retrieve the ball back and grubber a kick through to van Rensburg, who unfortunately knocked on.

Munster’s most likely advance saw a well-positioned scrum following a spill from the Exiles falter, and a decent Jackson clearance meant Irish could relax for the time being.

Up other end of park, a subsequent lineout infringement from those in red preceded smart and bustling carries respectively from Ben White and van Rensburg, but Irish had to bide their time in hopes of an important second score after a penalty was conceded at the breakdown.

One of the first signs of pacy Munster play spawned from a striding Alex Kendellen carry, but a brilliant jackal turnover from Ollie Hassell-Collins soon after stopped the Irish side in their tracks.

Hassell-Collins made himself busy once more on halfway in retrieving the ball away from his opponents, Ben White putting through an awe-inspiring 50:22 box kick and Irish were tucked into the opposing 22 once more.

Van Rensburg, first receiver off the lineout, crashed and clattered through Munster men again, and two phases later, Williams was found in an overlap by Stokes to gain the assist for the Academy product’s try.

Jackson’s conversion was wayward, but Irish were ahead by 12 heading into the break.

Ben White’s soaring box kick into touch meant Irish surrendered the ball for mere moments after a Munster throw-in wasn’t straight, Irish then working down the blindside of the scrum in what was the last significant action from the Exiles in a brilliant first-half showing.

Turnovers were seemingly the order of the day for Irish, Matt Cornish making his mark over the ball after Diarmud Barron’s charge off the back of a lineout after resumption.

Munster did however benefit from much more of the ball in the second-half’s opening ten minutes, and made their ball in hand count with a well worked try involving Malakai Fekitoa and Paddy Patterson who passed to a galloping Mike Haley to finish.

Replacement front-row forwards Danilo Fischetti, Isaac Miller and Lovejoy Chawatama set the standard with a charging set-piece in midfield that they followed up at another dominant put-in.

Irish looked strong going towards the whitewash for the first time in the second stanza, Stokes in particular not knowing when he is beaten in contact but a spill forward brought a promising attack to a conclusion.

The new Irish pack, bolstered by wholesale changes 58 minutes gone, turned over the ball for a Munster scrum in an unheralded yet welcome showing of dominance at the scrum from Irish.

New changes in the backs too worked in Irish’s favour, Luca Morisi drawing in the Munster players before feeding speedster Alexander Harmes to pass to former Academy and England under-20s teammate Henry Arundell- you know the rest.

A splendid score was rounded off with two more points from Jacob Atkins, whose race looked to be run with a head injury assessment with Jackson returning to the field in his homeland.Munster pressed on in search of a redeeming score, but despite strong defence from the likes of Will Joseph in the build-up, Paddy Patterson feigned his way through opposing tackles to score next to the posts and give an easy conversion and bring his side back within five.

An overcooked lineout from Munster when they were posing questions most in the second half handed Irish some relief, but grafting defence on halfway, with a special mention to Caolan Englefield on former All Black Fekitoa, meant Irish earned their possession reversal with Fischetti reclaiming the ball for his new side.

His compatriot Morisi too demonstrated his skillset on the ground to win back possession for Irish with Munster advancing, winning the penalty and in turn the game as London Irish took home the Jack Wakefield Memorial Trophy.

 

 

Score sequence (London Irish second): 0-5, 0-7, 0-12, 5-12, 7-12, 7-17, 7-19, 12-19, 14-19

Munster Rugby: Tries: Haley (46) Patterson (72); Conversions: Crowley (47) (73).

London Irish: Tries: Stokes (2), Williams (37), Arundell (62); Conversions: Jackson (3), Atkins (63).

 

Munster Rugby:

15 Simon Zebo, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Neil Cronin; 1 Josh Wycherley, 2 Scott Buckley, 3 Keynan Knox, 4 Jean Kleyn, 5 Eoin O’Connor, 6 Fineen Wycherley, 7 Jack O’Donoghue (C), 8 Alex Kendellen.

 

Replacements

Diarmuid Barron, Chris Moore, Roman Salanoa, Liam O’Connor, Edwin Edogbo, Thomas Ahern, Cian Hurley, Daniel Okeke, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, Liam Coombes, Malakai Fekitoa, Antoine Frisch, Tony Butler, Mike Haley.

 

London Irish first-half team:

15 James Stokes, 14 Matt Williams (Harmes 53), 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson (c), 9 Ben White (Englefield 49); 1 Facundo Gigena (Fischetti 48), 2 Matt Cornish (Miller 48), 3 Oliver Hoskins (Chawatama 41), 4 Rob Simmons, 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Ben Donnell, 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Josh Basham.

 

London Irish second-half team:

15 Henry Arundell, 14 Will Joseph, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Tom Hitchcock, 11 Alex Harmes, 10 Jacob Atkins (Jackson 66), 9 Caolan Englefield; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Isaac Miller, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 6 Jack Cooke, 7 Isaac Curtis-Harris, 8 Chandler Cunningham-South.

 

Referee: Mr Chris Busby

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby


Premiership

Match Report: Bath Rugby 31-39 Wasps

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Match summary – Bath Rugby 31-39 Wasps

Bath Rugby took away a try-bonus point from a game which saw them make a much improved effort in the second half, but Wasps held on to victory at the death. 

In a game of two halves, the visitors raced into 25-0 lead before Matt Gallagher’s converted try on his home debut just before half-time. 

Jacob Umaga added two penalties late in the first half but it was Bath who rallied and showed a lot of fight to score a further three tries through Tom Dunn (2) and Jonathan Joseph.  

Piers Francis’ penalty made it five-point game late on as Bath pushed to win the game but a last-gasp kick from Umaga meant they had to settle for just one point.


TEAM NEWS

Johann van Graan made eight changes to his starting XV with a new half-back pairing in the form of Louis Schreuder and Orlando Bailey both getting their first starts of the season. 

Also getting their first run out of 2022/23 at were Miles Reid, Max Ojomoh and Quinn Roux – the latter making his Blue, Black and White debut.

Wasps put both Willis brothers – Jack and Tom – in their back row, while England international Joe Launchbury continued as captain.

Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Tom Dunn ©, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Josh McNally, 6 Miles Reid, 7 Chris Cloete, 8 Richard de Carpentier

Replacements: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Aranos Coetzee, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Max Green, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Josh Bayliss

Wasps: 15 Jacob Umaga, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Will Porter; 1 Tom West, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Biyi Alo, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 5 Kiran McDonald, 6 Nizaam Carr, 7 Jack Willis, 8 Tom Willis

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 John Ryan, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Zach Kibirige


FIRST HALF

Bath started the game brightly and were the better side in the first 10 minutes and brought physicality in both attack and defence – captain Dunn and Miles Reid leading from the front. 

But it was Umaga who grabbed the game’s opening points with two penalties in as many minutes and three tries in quick succession earned Wasps a solid scoreline advantage. 

Josh Bassett collected his own kick to dot down in the corner before Jack Willis’ close range burrow was confirmed by the TMO. Scrum-half Will Porter finished off a smart handling move to make it 25-0 on the half-hour mark. 

Just shy of the halfway mark, Bath did manage to string an impressive phase together to cross the whitewash. Orlando Bailey spotted a gap and sent a rampaging Will Muir on his way and the wing fed Gallagher in for his first try in Bath colours.

Umaga further added to his tally with two penalties as the first-half clocked ticked down.

SECOND HALF

Schreuder was unfortunate to be sin binned early in the second half and Wasps made the most of their man advantage with Bassett crossing for his second.

However, the Blue, Black and White were cheered on by The Rec in full voice and captain Dunn soon came through the back of a well-driven maul to score Bath’s second.  

Bailey converted with aplomb to close the gap and having found some momentum, and with the impact players putting their stamp on the game, Joseph soon came crashing over the line with a bit of neat footwork to score next to the posts.

Holding off Wasps with hard hits and strong carries, Dunn scored once again from the back of a maul, earning Bath a try bonus point, and hope of a comeback was well and truly in the air.

Francis put Bath in with a chance of securing victory with a penalty, making it 36-31 with moments to play, but with the clock ticking down, Umaga snatched away a second Bath point with a penalty to end the game at 39-31 to the away side.

An encouraging show of fight in the second 40 and something to build for Bath as they head to London Irish in Round 4.


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Press Conference Notes 23.09.22

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Director of Rugby Steve Diamond spoke to the media today ahead of Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons at Sixways (3pm).

Here’s what Steve had to say:

Is the club in administration?

  • I can’t confirm that, no. I have heard the same rumours.
  • Whether it’s convenience or good timing or poor timing, the public liability insurances for the club are up on Monday so we are in limbo from then anyhow.
  • If there’s no public liability insurance we won’t be able to train at the stadium. We will have to train off-site.
  • Something will have to happen either the said investor who is negotiating or administration.

What did you make of Robin Walker MP’s speech?

  • I thought it was an excellent debate – it’s the first time my name has been mentioned in Parliament by the way.
  • He was very passionate and it was what people want to see and hear, some facts and some honesty.
  • We have been in this period of near-purgatory for some time now and it seems to be coming to a head with us potentially being suspended on Monday.

Have you heard from the owners?

  • I had a text on Sunday but that has been it.
  • Because I have not had any dialogue with them I can’t speak for them. But it would be bizarre to let a business go into real uncharted waters by having a team suspended because they can’t pay the insurance cover in case people slip in the stands. It would also be unprofessional.
  • I don’t know how we have got this position. It’s sad and it’s diabolical that it’s been allowed to walk itself to the graveyard virtually. I never thought it would get to this position, but it has.
  • The rugby for the players and the staff – most of them are volunteering now – is a welcome relief.
  • The result is unimportant to me. Just getting 23 lads out to give it their best shot is all I’m interested in.
  • If people had the same mindset behind the scenes that I have then we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

Have you ever though it’s not worth it?

  • No, not even today. If the right people come in with the right vision then it will be a success.
  • It’s been run poorly, incredibly badly, and it needs re-booting. At least I have had six months to work out how badly it has been run.
  • With a fair wind behind us and some serious finance in reserve – not to use on celebrity names in the playing staff – just to reboot the club from Academy to the top. You wouldn’t need to be Warren Buffet to do that.
  • We need to build relationships with the rugby club across the road where there is no relationship – which I find ridiculous.
  • The local community have shown what they are about in bucketloads. I’ve had personal messages from sponsors, potential sponsors and potential investors. Everyone wants it to work and that’s where I get my enthusiasm from.

What are your over-riding emotions?

  • I don’t feel let-down. I have had the foresight to see that, for whatever reason, there has been no financial control and no real graft in the business.
  • Every rugby club had to take emergency steps through the Covid period with DCMS and HMRC allowing payment windows.
  • But you have to stay on-side with these people. Generally that comes from being a good communicator and as we have seen over the past month that has been very poor.
  • If it’s very poor with people who give blood for them on a Saturday afternoon then you can only imagine it being a lot worse to people at the end of a phone.

How are the players mentally?

  • They are remarkably good. We had a good chat again this morning and the over-riding mentality is that we want to play the game.
  • For the right reasons. We are in the political window but I don’t want the team to be in that position. I can handle that position.
  • It does put pressure on by us playing because the staff are working for nothing, the volunteers have been fantastic and we get so much goodwill that if we don’t play the attention will come onto the team and that’s not what we are about.
  • But if the deadline is not met by the powers-that-be on Monday then we will be suspended.

How long might you be suspended for?

  • There are some assurances that it wouldn’t be fatal. But you can’t have a team not playing for five or six weeks and then put them back in again.
  • I am assuming if we are suspended and we do go into administration then it will be a two or three week process. We could be playing after the break when we have a bye week in two weeks’ time.
  • The disappointing thing is how this has kept going and meandered. I asked the RPA this morning whether they had jumped in now because the insurance is up on Monday.
  • We are playing with a lot of livelihoods and 70 per cent of those livelihoods haven’t been fully paid.

Injuries

  • Ted Hill is nearly there with his hamstring but we don’t want to risk him.
  • Renato Giammarioli is waiting on his visa.

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Ludlam, Lawes, Biggar and Freeman make Saints return for 250th Derby

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Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has made seven changes to his Northampton Saints side to take on Leicester Tigers on Saturday, with four internationals in Lewis Ludlam, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Tommy Freeman all returning to the starting line-up.The men in Black, Green and Gold take on their local rivals in the first East Midlands Derby of the 2022/23 season – and the 250th ever played in a milestone clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.Saints lost all three meetings between the sides last term, including an evenly-contested Gallagher Premiership semi-final, but will be hoping to replicate the sort of form which has seen Northampton win their last five league matches on home soil (the Club’s longest winning run at the Gardens since 2015).Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns for the first time this season for Saints in the back row and is joined by England captain Courtney Lawes, with the pair having completed their rest period following the summer’s international tour to Australia.No.8 Juarno Augustus – who has driven through more metres in contact than any other Premiership player in the league’s opening two rounds – completes the back row, while Alex Coles moves up into the engine room to partner Australian lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.There are changes to Northampton’s front row too; Sam Matavesi continues at hooker but props Emmanuel Iyogun and Alfie Petch both earn their first starts of the season to pack down either side of the Fiji international.Wales skipper Biggar (who was due to return in last weekend’s victory over London Irish before illness ruled him out of the clash) pulls on the No.10 jersey for the hosts, with the Premiership’s player-of-the-round Alex Mitchell continuing at scrum-half.Fraser Dingwall returns from injury to take his place in the starting line-up, prompting a reshuffle in Saints’ backline as Matt Proctor moves to the wing and Rory Hutchinson continues at inside centre.England internationals George Furbank and Tommy Freeman round off the back three for Northampton for the crucial clash, with the likes of Tom James, Paul Hill, Angus Scott-Young and Tom Collins all primed to make an impact off the bench.A small number of tickets remain for the East Midlands Derby, with prices starting from £42 adult / £12 child*. Please CLICK HERE to purchase now.NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LEICESTER TIGERSGallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3Saturday 24 September 2022cinch Stadium at Franklin’s GardensKick-off: 3pm15 George Furbank14 Tommy Freeman13 Fraser Dingwall12 Rory Hutchinson11 Matt Proctor10 Dan Biggar9 Alex Mitchell1 Emmanuel Iyogun2 Sam Matavesi3 Alfie Petch4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto5 Alex Coles6 Courtney Lawes7 Lewis Ludlam (c)8 Juarno AugustusReplacements:16 Mike Haywood17 Ethan Waller18 Paul Hill19 Alex Moon20 Angus Scott-Young21 Tom James22 James Grayson23 Tom CollinsNot considered for selection:Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, James Fish, Joseph Gaffan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Alex Waller and Karl Wilkins.Referee: Karl DicksonAssistant referees: Dan Jones and Jamie LeahyNo.4: Dean RichardsTMO: Stuart Terheege* All ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Please note, ticket prices rise by £3 per ticket if purchased on matchday.

Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has made seven changes to his Northampton Saints side to take on Leicester Tigers on Saturday, with four internationals in Lewis Ludlam, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Tommy Freeman all returning to the starting line-up.

The men in Black, Green and Gold take on their local rivals in the first East Midlands Derby of the 2022/23 season – and the 250th ever played in a milestone clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints lost all three meetings between the sides last term, including an evenly-contested Gallagher Premiership semi-final, but will be hoping to replicate the sort of form which has seen Northampton win their last five league matches on home soil (the Club’s longest winning run at the Gardens since 2015).

Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns for the first time this season for Saints in the back row and is joined by England captain Courtney Lawes, with the pair having completed their rest period following the summer’s international tour to Australia.

No.8 Juarno Augustus – who has driven through more metres in contact than any other Premiership player in the league’s opening two rounds – completes the back row, while Alex Coles moves up into the engine room to partner Australian lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

There are changes to Northampton’s front row too; Sam Matavesi continues at hooker but props Emmanuel Iyogun and Alfie Petch both earn their first starts of the season to pack down either side of the Fiji international.

Wales skipper Biggar (who was due to return in last weekend’s victory over London Irish before illness ruled him out of the clash) pulls on the No.10 jersey for the hosts, with the Premiership’s player-of-the-round Alex Mitchell continuing at scrum-half.

Fraser Dingwall returns from injury to take his place in the starting line-up, prompting a reshuffle in Saints’ backline as Matt Proctor moves to the wing and Rory Hutchinson continues at inside centre.

England internationals George Furbank and Tommy Freeman round off the back three for Northampton for the crucial clash, with the likes of Tom James, Paul Hill, Angus Scott-Young and Tom Collins all primed to make an impact off the bench.

A small number of tickets remain for the East Midlands Derby, with prices starting from £42 adult / £12 child*. Please CLICK HERE to purchase now.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LEICESTER TIGERS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3
Saturday 24 September 2022
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Matt Proctor
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Alfie Petch
4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5 Alex Coles
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Ethan Waller
18 Paul Hill
19 Alex Moon
20 Angus Scott-Young
21 Tom James
22 James Grayson
23 Tom Collins

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, James Fish, Joseph Gaffan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Alex Waller and Karl Wilkins.

Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Dan Jones and Jamie Leahy
No.4: Dean Richards
TMO: Stuart Terheege

* All ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Please note, ticket prices rise by £3 per ticket if purchased on matchday.

Content & Images from – Northampton Saints Rugby


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