Tuesday, October 16, 2018

80-word reviews incl #EXEvMUN, #ULSvLEI, #CelticCup & more



A day that will be remembered as one Freddie Burns wants to forget. He took his first half try well but having already missed two penalties, with Bath two points down he put a third off the upright from in front and moments later while coasting over the line for the winning try he didn't bank on MotM Medard slapping his hand at the last minute. Colbe, Guitoune and Holmes also impressed for the French who host Leinster next weekend.



In their first ever meeting it was no surprise that the similar physical approaches of these proud clubs cancelled each other out.  Cowan-Dickie barged over from short range in the first half, Stander in the second. Conway somehow avoided sanction for clattering Steenson after his conversion. Munster bossed the lineouts & played the wind wisely until an overcooked Carbery clearance gave Exeter a late chance to win but Munster held out for 22 phases to earn two precious away points.

Ulster showed faith in young Michael Lowry at full back and he recovered well after an early spill to pass all the tests the Tigers then posed him.  The visitors got the first and last scores but too many mistakes in between saw O'Connor, Addison & Stockdale capitalise for the home side in the second half.  Both sides battled towards the end for their own kind of BP but the Belfast rain got heavier and the final score looked about right. 


Angus O'Brien's first 40m of Euro rugby was forgettable literally from start to finish - he put the kickoff in touch and was down injured before the break as Chouzenoux made the first breakthrough in the wet windy West Walian weather.  Dan Jones steadied the Scarlet ship somewhat after halftime and they led after tries from Gareth Davies and McNicholl but Halfpenny couldn't convert either which allowed the Parisians, mostly deservedly, to steal the match points with a late penalty try.

Both sides were able to get the ball to the opposition 22, but when it came to converting territory into points, you didn't need to see the jerseys to tell which side's had 2 stars.  Once Rhodes crossed the Glasgow line early, it was as though Sarries preferred to be defending, even for an extra spell of phases & penalties at the end of the first half.  Not a great afternoon for Adam Hastings though he should improve at this level.


Having their exit kick blocked in the first minute leading to a try wasn't the ideal return to Europe's top table but Newcastle fought their way back to a 1-point halftime lead.  On 50m a big call from Ben Whitehouse gave them a penalty try and an extra man but a Hodgson knockon evened up the numbers shortly after and the Toulon pack crashed their way back close. In a frantic finish the visitors held on for an historic triumph.



In what was effectively a Celtic Cup semifinal, Munster recovered well from a 1st minute Dave Kearney try and the lead changed several times until with half an hour to go Leinster's close range mauling in particular was too much and promising flanker Scott Penny helped himself to another brace as the home side pulled away.  Bryan & Adam Byrne, O'Sullivan and Jimmy O'Brien were the other try scorers, with  Stafford, French and Johnston crossing for Munster.


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019