Munster’s Close Shave.
3rd September 2005 By Munster Rugby
Border Reivers came within a whisker of recording their first away win in the Celtic League, in the end denied by last gasp defence and a marvellous Mick O’Driscoll line-out steal deep in injury time
Border Reivers came within a whisker of recording their first away win in the Celtic League in Thomond Park on Saturday. In the end they were denied by last gasp defence and a marvellous Mick O’Driscoll line-out steal deep in injury time.
Munster were clinging onto a 9-7 lead when a knock-on under the posts by Rob Henderson gave the visitors a five-metre scrum. Borders out-half Gregor Townsend immediately slipped into the pocket indicating with a nod of his head to Chris Cusiter exactly what he had in mind. Munster disrupted the Borders’ scrum and Jeremy Manning cleared to touch on the 22. But instead of gaining possession to launch one more attack, Borders saw O’Driscoll rise majestically to pinch their ball and Manning cleared again to end the contest.
It was a game Borders might well have won. Their kicker Charlie Hoare missed two point-blank penalties and was the victim of a questionable referee decision in the opening half.
With Munster on the hind foot inside their own 22, Hoare pounced on a spilled David Wallace ball with a prairie of open space between himself and the Munster line. However Welsh referee Tim Hayes blew with what seemed indecent haste and Munster’s line remained intact.
But not for long. Moments later Townsend danced through feeble defence to score under the posts and give the visitors a lead they held until the 62nd minute. Then, nineteen year old Manning, showed admirable composure to kick what turned out to be the winning score, just moments after arriving on as a replacement for Paul Burke.
All in all, not the most auspicious of starts to say the least for Munster, however, nine of those who took part were having their first start of the season and will have beneitted from the outing.
Next up for Munster is title holders Neath-Swansea Ospreys in Cork next Saturday (6pm).
Munster: Shaun Payne; David Wallace, Trevor Halstead, Rob Henderson, John
Kelly; Paul Burke (J Manning 62 min), Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery (F Sheahan 50 min), Federico Pucciariello; Trevor Hogan, Mick O’Driscoll; Stephen Keogh (A Quinlan 50 min), Denis Leamy, Anthony Foley capt