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Munster Schools U19’s Triumph at the Mardyke

27th September 2005 By Munster Rugby

Munster Schools U19’s Triumph at the Mardyke

A spirited Munster Schools U19 side defeated visitors NSW Combined Schools in a fine display of rugby at the Mardyke on Tuesday

Munster Schools U19 20 NSW Combined High School 17

Visitors New South Wales Combined Schools suffered the first defeat of their UK and Ireland tour to a spirited and classy Munster side at the Mardyke on Tuesday. In a hugely entertaining game of rugby, the two sides were well matched all over the field, with some certain stars of the future making a huge impression on the game.

NSW Combined Schools opened the scoring with a try after 9 minutes by full back Ben Jones. The try was set up by centre Alifeleji Mafi, who impressed throughout the game, and who after a 30 yard run cross kicked to fullback Ben Jones, giving the visitors a 5-0 lead. However, Munster reacted immediately, with some excellent handling feeding the ball to winger Peter O Sullivan, who was caught on the line by his opposite number, Sione Mafi. Munster continued to create chances, and minutes later, O Sullivan broke for the line again, only to be stopped again by Sione Mafi.

Mafi struck again after 24 mins, with a try after a breathtaking run from the halfway line, stretching NSW Combined Schools lead to 10-0. There were flashes of brilliance in the game, with a couple of players on both teams showing wisdom far beyond their years. None more so than St. Munchin s College centre Keith Earls, who broke through five tackles to score from a run that started close to the halfway line just before half time. Earls was outstanding throughout, getting better as the game wore on and posing a constant threat to the NSW defence. CBC s Peter O Sullivan converted to reduce the deficit to 10-7 in favour of the visitors. The try gave a huge boost to Munster, and was well deserved after battling through a tough first half. Some great defence and cover tackles prevented the visitors from capitalizing on a number of opportunities to score in the first half, and a revitalized Munster took to the field in the second half.

Munster came out strongly in the second half, keeping play well within the NSW half for much of the opening period. Peter O Sullivan leveled the scores 5 minutes into the half with a well struck penalty, and put Munster ahead shortly afterwards with another penalty. When NSW moved play inside the Munster half, they were hugely threatening in attack, and the visitors went ahead after substitute Reece Robinson touched down. Mafi converted to give NSW a 17-13 lead. The sign of a great team is their ability to dig deep when needed, and this Munster Schools U19 showed great character for the remainder of the game. With three minutes to go, replacement out half Jeff Power nipped over the line for a try, which was converted by Peter O Sullivan to give Munster a 20-17 lead. In the dying seconds of the game, Jeff Power prevented the NSW winger Nua Alone from scoring in the corner, with an outstanding tackle. Munster held on for the victory, much to the delight of the home crowd.

It was a fine display of rugby from both sides, who are a credit to their schools. For NSW, centre Alifeleji Mafi is a true star in the making, with his partner in the centre Travis Robinson also showing plenty of talent. No. 8 Kris Ward had an excellent game, as did full back Ben Jones and flanker Rodney Maa. For Munster, the team worked extremely well as a unit, with Keith Earls and Peter O Sullivan standing out. However, captain Shane O Sullivan had a fine game, as did scrum half Paul Rowley. Both teams showed fantastic character, and the high standard of rugby on display bodes well for the future of rugby. The game was played in an excellent spirit, with some extremely talented young players on both sides that we certainly haven t heard the last of.

Munster Schools U19

15. Rory O Connor (Rockwell College), 14. Peter O Sullivan (CBC), 13. Keith Earls (St. Munchin s College), 12. Tim Kenneally (PBC), 11. Marcus O Driscoll (Rockwell College), 10. Ronan O Sullivan (Crescent College Comprehensive), 9. Paul Rowley (St. Munchin s College), 1. Ronan O Neill (CBC), 2. Wayne Falvey (CBC), 3. Barry McNamara (St. Munchin s College), 4. Richard MacCarthy (PBC), 5. Peter Murphy (CBC), 6. Robert Allen (PBC), 7. Shane Hassett (St. Munchin s College), 8. Shane O Sullivan (CBC) Captain

Replacements:

Edwin Torrie (Newtown School) for O Connor, Jeff Power (PBC) for R. O Sullivan, Ben Rowley (Ard Scoil Ris) for McNamara, David Nathan (CBC) for Hassett, Eoghan Grace (Rockwell College) for MacCarthy, Conor McNamara (St. Munchin s College) for P. Murphy,

NSW Combined High Schools

15. Ben Jones, 14. Sione Mafi, 13. Alifeleji Mafi, 12. Travis Robinson, 11. Caleb Lafai, 10. Jeremy Sua, 9. Scott Bradley, 1. Gavin Addison, 2. Nick Phillips, 3. Pingi Talaapitaga, 4. Matthew Woolven, 5. Steven Mison, 6. David Fungalei, 7. Rodney Maa, 8. Kris Ward

Replacements:

16. Nua Alone, 17. Reece Robinson, 18. Mark Frost, 19. Codie Hearfield, 20. Robert Taufua, 21. Joseph Afualo, 22. James Dawson, 23. Nathan Colcott

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