Stats, Vids & Pics | Summer International Representation
11th July 2017 By The Editor
Saturday morning’s British and Irish Lions thriller in Auckland brought the curtain down on what has been an exciting couple of months of international action with many Munster representatives reaching new milestones along the way.
In naming his British and Irish Lions touring party back in April, Head Coach Warren Gatland included three Munster players in a 41-man squad – debutants Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander, and second time tourist Conor Murray, with each making their mark on the tour.
Earning his debut off the bench against the Auckland Blues, O’Mahony’s highlight will undoubtedly have been the honour of captaining the Lions in the opening Test having previously led the side to a comprehensive victory over the Maori All Blacks. In doing so, O’Mahony joined a long list of Cork Constitution clubmen to have captained the Lions, including Ronan O’Gara, Donncha O’Callaghan, Donal Lenihan, Noel Murphy and Tom Kiernan, although just O’Mahony and Kiernan have done so in a Test.
It was fitting for O’Mahony that he started his first Lions Test alongside Conor Murray, a player with whom he has shared a rugby pitch since his Schools rugby days, captaining Murray at Ireland U19 level in 2008, through to Munster U20, Ireland U20, Munster A, Munster and ultimately the Lions.
Making just one Test appearance in the 2013 Series win in Australia, four years on, Murray became one of the central figures in Gatland’s game-plan, starting all three Tests and becoming the first northern hemisphere player in history to score four Test tries against the All Blacks – the latest proving to be the pivotal score as the Lions just shaded it in Wellington to set up a Series decider back at Eden Park.
? 4 Test tries against @AllBlacks, a record for a northern hemisphere player
Read more | https://t.co/Xqgh4QyQxf@ConorMurray_9 ? pic.twitter.com/791CQTn5vc
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) July 3, 2017
Stander’s meteoric rise on the international stage has continued on an upward trajectory. With a try scoring debut against the Blues, the back row showed his mettle against six Super Rugby franchises before bulldozing his way into the matchday 23 for the final two Tests, making a notable impact off the bench last weekend as the Lions held on to level the Series with a 15-all draw in Auckland.
CJ Stander makes an impact off the bench in the second Test. ©INPHO/Billy SticklandNo less than nine Munster representatives were included by Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt for the Summer Tour to the USA and Japan – Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Dave Kilcoyne, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Rory Scannell and Simon Zebo – although injury would rule O’Donnell out of contention prior to departure.
It was another proud day for the Scannell household when Niall and Rory became the first set of Munster brothers to play a Test alongside each other in the professional era, doing so in the tour-opening win against the USA. The game also saw Niall cross for his first try and Rory registered his first international points with two conversions.
John Ryan’s first international start came in New Jersey with Rory and Andrew Conway making theirs a week later in Japan.
Keith Earls made headlines with trailblazing performances from start to finish, bagging braces against the USA and Japan – on top of numerous assists – and setting a new Irish record for tries scored in a season (9).