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Munster A 2015-16

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  • Munster A vs Carnegie Match Report

    So we deserved it, just.
    Back in the door from a freezing cold Kinsale rugby club. Very little parking up at the ground but mini buses were provided from Charles Fort and Kinsale itself so the club clearly put the effort in. Well run evening so kudos to the club for putting it on. Decent turnout given that the weather was brutal and Ulster were playing in the ERC. Definitely three hundred there anyway, probably more.
    Carnegie looked like a young side but they were big lads too. Very few familiar faces in their line up but I was curious to see how a certain Mr Sinfield would get on at ten.
    The wind was blowing a serious gale in the first half and we had it at our backs. We struggled to get much momentum going with ball in hand but the ref stood for no messing at the breakdown and Scannell's kicking from hand was excellent. Rory missed an early shot at goal when they went off their feet. It was straight in front and just outside the ten but we'll forgive him as he hadn't warmed up yet. The game struggled to get going after that. They made ground when the forwards carried ball but we defended well enough. They were pulled back twice for forward passes when breaks were on. Sinfield has great hands and got the players around him moving.
    We got a penalty around 15 minutes in on half way when John Ryan seemed to get the push on in the scrum. Scannell kicked to the corner and after 7 or 8 phases Billy Holland drove over. Scannell put over the conversion.
    They could have hit back straight away. The scrum went backwards and Buckley was pinged for holding on at the base. Sinfield misjudged the wind from the 22 and put it wide. A real let off, even accounting for the conditions. We struggled to get the backline moving after that but ROM made a cracking break off Scannell's shoulder and got into the 22. We almost got over after a few more phases but were held up over the line. Sagario was minced at the scrum and they cleared. We made it back to their 5 metre line after more messing from them on the deck and we got a penalty for dragging down the maul. Sheridan tapped and went before diving over in the corner. Scannell hit a smashing conversion from the touchline and we looked primed to kick on and win well.
    Didn't happen though. They got right on top in the scrum and maul and our lineout misfunctioned badly. Sinfield kicked a penalty after they drove up to our line and missed a very kickable one just before the break. They could have had a try between the 2 penalties only for a great cover tackle from Bohane in the corner and them kicking the ball away needlessly.
    14-3 at the break.
    At the start of the second half the rain (very icy) started coming down in addition to the strong wind. We started well with ball in hand and Scannell missed a tricky kick from their 10. We got up to their line after some good running from backs and forwards (ROM prominent again) but we knocked on when inside their 5 metre line. They won a penalty from the scrum and kicked to touch. McCarthy looked to challenge fairly (as far as I could see) but their second row got above him. Their lifter seemed to drop the catcher who fell onto and over McCarthy. Bizarrely (again from what I saw) McCarthy was sent to the bin. They got down the field, won another penalty from the maul and it was 14-6 with 25 to go.
    They kept the pressure on when we were down to 14 men but in fairness our defence stood up well in our 22 and Sinfield made a couple of poor decisions with the boot. He never really got the hang of the wind. Once again we managed to get down field but Duncan knocked on 3 yards from their line when it looked like we'd score.
    They got on top again in the last 10 minutes. Sinfield kicked them to 14-9 down after our lineout went to pot again and he kicked to the corner after a dreadful up and under from Scannell into the wind caught everyone offside. Sagario got binned for pulling the maul down a few metres from our line and a try looked on the cards. Again the defence stood up though and we won a scrum when they couldn't get the ball back. Liam O'Connor came on at loosehead for the scrum and demolished their tighthead to win a penalty 5 metres from our own line. We fluffed the lineout again but they couldn't capitalise. We kicked dead and that was that.
    14-9. Game over.
    The positives for me were our defence when we were under pressure and the fact that we kept the head when it looked like they'd score in the last 10 minutes.
    Plenty of negatives too. Our lineout was a farce, we mostly lost the battle upfront (especially in the first half) and our backs never really clicked.
    The ref had an up and down game. He stood for no nonsense at the breakdown (which I like) but he was happy to let mauls go on forever, even after they had clearly stopped moving 2 or 3 times. He gave them more of the 50:50 calls but I wouldn't have too many complaints about him.

    Here's my observations on each player.
    John Ryan: Struggled in the scrum and although he made a few carries he wasn't very effective defensively. Disappointing enough night but he held the scrum up twice at tighthead in the last 5 minutes or so which is positive
    Kevin O'Byrne: Really disappointing and even though we had an AIL hooker on the bench I'm surprised he lasted the 80. I counted 4 crooked throws and we lost 1 scrum against the head. Didn't stand out in the loose and overall we lost the battle in the tight. Lets hope Niall Scannell stays fit.
    Mario Sagario: Bizarrely for a guy just back from the World Cup, he didn't look fit. Maybe he is just knackered. Didn't work hard enough for me. Lost more scrums than he won and was binned with 5-10 minutes to go.
    Sean McCarthy: Carried plenty and didn't shirk the physical side of the game. Too upright with ball in hand for me though. Was unlucky to be sin binned.
    Billy Holland: Our best forward. Was in the middle of everything defensively, was our most effective lineout option and was clearly a leader on the field.
    Jordan Coughlan: Really disappointing. He is a massive unit and looks super fit. He made no yards with ball in hand though and seemed to conceed yards with his tackles. Came off for O'Connor when Sagario was binned with 5-10 left and we didn't miss him.
    Sean Doyle: Up and down. He is an out and out groundhog which we need. Spent all night trying to secure or rob ball. One great steal but the ref wasn't one for a contest on the floor which didn't suit him.
    Shane Buckley: Carried well and was very keen for work. Was in the middle of everything defensively too. Not aware enough at the base of the scrum though, especially when we were going backwards in the first half and needed the ball out of there fast.
    Cathal Sheridan: Went pretty well. Quick delivery and kicked well (albeit with a serious gust behind him). Not afraid to try long passes and was alive for his try when most others went to sleep.
    Rory Scannell: Either feast or famine. Some excellent kicks to the corner in the first half and 2 good conversions. Didn't go ten with a restart in the second half though and cost us a score with a stupid up and under that blew back behind him. Looked dangerous with ball in hand but never got the backline moving. Won one important penalty at the breakdown but fell off a couple of tackles too. Has serious talent but will have to do better than tonight to unseat Keatley.
    Cian Bohane: Defended well and is a serious physical threat. I wonder if he has the hands for 12 though and his combination was Darcy was a complete failure.
    Matt Darcy: A poor night. He doesn't have the footwork or acceleration over the first 5 yards to play 13 and him and Bohane looked like they first set eyes on each other in the car park before the game.
    Ronan O'Mahony: Was hungry for work and was our best back. Made at least 2 excellent line breaks and was unlucky with the bounce of the ball at least twice more.
    Lucas Amorosino: Saw very little ball. Didn't seem to come inside much looking for work and got no decent ball from Bohane and Darcy. Went to fullback when Darcy came off late on. Defended well.
    David Johnston: Difficult night for the fullbacks but went ok. A couple of good kicks and looks to have great ball skills. One little chip over the top almost fell for ROM. Didn't get much change with ball in hand though and could probably do with putting on another half stone. Went to 13 when Darcy came off.

    The subs
    Liam O'Connor: Got 5 minutes at the end and nailed 2 critical scrums including 1 five metres from his own line. Promising from a guy who is only 20.
    Conor Oliver: Came on for Doyle with 15 or so to go and got through plenty of tackle work. Not a night for the groundhogs with the refs interpretation of the breakdown though.
    Duncan Williams: Same old Duncan really. Too slow at times from the base and his sideways running just eats up space for guys outside him. Does more than his fair share defensively though and looked dangerous when he did run forward.
    Darren Sweetnam: Saw very little ball and wasn't on long. Played right wing and seems to have bulked up a little since last year. Has a senior contract now so will be disappointed not to be starting these games.

    Right, that is twice as long as I intended.
    A decent win in tough conditions for what is still a hotch potch team with precious little gametime together. Plenty to work on though and we couldn't really have argued if they had nicked the game at the end. I'm off to defrost my fingers and check how many toes I lost to the frost bite.
    Slán go fóill.
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