Munster A this afternoon suffered an 11-21 defeat to London Scottish at CBC Lansdowne, a result that sees them exit this season’s British and Irish Cup. The visitors made their considerable bulk pay in wet and windy conditions that were solely conducive to tight and forward driven play.
Scottish scored the only try of the first half before both sides traded tries the second, however a mounting penalty count, especially in the second half, saw the Championship outfit make full use of a strong wind, landing a number of crucial penalties.
It was Munster who drew first blood, Johnny Holland taking advantage of the wind at his back and putting Munster 3-0 up after Scottish went off their feet with 5 minutes played.
As expected, when presented with early penalty opportunities, London Scottish repeatedly kicked for the corner, trying to make their weight advantage count, but it was not to be. What O’Driscoll’s young charges might have lacked in experience and size, they more than made up for with spirit and determination in the opening exchanges.
Trying to barge their way through with a barrage of maul and phase attacks, this visitors ended their first period of sustained possession with nothing to show on the scoreboard as Munster staunchly defended their line before an excellent lineout steal allowed them clear their lines.
From there the hosts began to retain possession and find some territory deep in the opposition half, however much like Scottish, the men in red’s sustained period of possession also yielded no return on the scoreboard.
One chance came the way of Johnny Holland on 20 minutes, but this time the fly-half was left of the posts.
As dictated by the poor playing conditions, unforced errors were the order of the day for both sides but it was the visitors who broke a scoring deadlock on 34 minutes when they employed their most potent maul of the game so far with number 8 and captain Mark Bright touching down.
However with full-back Peter Lydon unable to convert the extras it remained a two point game as the teams headed for the interval.
3-5 at the break.
Munster were first to strike in the second 40, Holland kicking low and hard into the wind and bisecting the posts on 57 minutes after Scottish were pinged for holding on.
The lead was short-lived however as Lydon slotted a three-pointer just minutes later when Munster infringed at set piece.
And the full-back punished the hosts even further when following up with a wind-assisted long range effort from inside the Munster half on 67 minutes.
To make matters worse, then came the visitor’s second try of the game. Surging forward with a dominant maul, rather than keep it tight, Scottish opted to spread it wide, a move that paid dividends with centre Jason Harries touching down under the posts and Lydon adding the easiest of conversions – 6-18 after 70 minutes.
But Munster’s reply was swift and effective, Cian Bohane bringing Munster right back to within a converted try of Scottish when he touched down under the posts not much more than a minute later. The centre picked a wonderful line and evaded number of defenders in crossing the whitewash.
Unfortunately for Holland, what should have been a formality with the extras was anything but when the wind blew the ball off the tee on his approach. Failing to make a proper connection, the ball hobbled right of the posts and score remained at 11-18.
With Munster needing the next score to give themselves a fighting chance, and Scottish needing it to guarantee victory, it was the latter that transpired and again Lydon used a gusty tailwind to its full advantage, landing his second long range attempt and pushing his side out to an 11-21 victory at CBC Lansdowne, Cork.
Despite their win, London Scottish joined Munster A in exiting the British and Irish Cup this afternoon as other results failed to go their way in a Super Saturday of action.
Today's game also saw academy wing/full-back Steven McMahon and sub-academy scrum-half John Poland make their first B&I Cup appearances.