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In Defence Of Small Nations

27th April 2012 By jess

In Defence Of Small Nations

Looking at the Welsh newspapers, there’s a certain ‘in defence of small nations’ theme about this trip by Cross Keys to Cork for the British & Irish Cup final (5.30) as the Welsh side are portrayed as the little village side coming over to take on the might of Munster.

Mind you, the little village side plays it's rugby in the Principality Premiership where they've played 26 matches to date and could afford the luxury of playing a completely different side in their last two League games from the one that will run out at Musgrave Park tonight.

Contrast that to Ian Costello's side who this evening take to the field for their ninth game of the season.

Nevertheless both sides deserve credit for being here tonight, both overcoming adversity in doing so, both surviving significant encounters with Cornish Pirates along the way.

In Munster's case it was in Round One when they were beaten by a hugely controversial last minute penalty try in Clonmel RFC while Cross Keys saw off the 2010 winners in the semi-final 26-10 with two tries from wing Kristian Baller.

That result on it's own can act as a warning to Billy Holland and his colleagues of what they're up against this evening. The Welsh side by their own admission have been wrapped in cotton wool with this game in mind followed by the SWALEC Cup final next weekend.

Munster showed huge bottle, great defence and no little amount of skill in beating Leinster at the RDS in the semi final but this will be an entirely different kettle of fish. In the 2010 final they came up short against a grizzled crafty 'old-school' Pirates outfit who in the end, were just that little bit too street-wise.

They can expect more of the same from Cross Keys who wll come screaming out of the blocks and who have in Jason Tovey a fly-half well capable of bossing this game – if he's allowed – and the backs to exploit any opportunities provided.

All in all though, it promises to be a cracking affair.

Munster: S Scanlon; AN Other, D Barnes, I Dineen, D Hurley; S Deasy, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, S Henry, S Archer; B Hayes, I Nagle; B Holland (capt), D O’Callaghan, P Butler. Replacements: D Fogarty, J Ryan, B O’Mahony, B O’Hara, G Hurley, D Cusack, JJ Hanrahan.

Cross Keys: G David; K Baller, L Andrews, P Williams, N Trowbridge; J Tovey, R Dyer; R Cornock, G Price, M Jones; D Hodge; T Lampard; R Peebles, R Nash capt, J Groves. Replacements: L Rawlins, J Sollis, C Gould, C Trayhern, M Popham, L Williams, O Jones.

Referee: J Matthews (SRU).

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