Munster ‘A’ – 24/01/2015

38Doncaster Knights

17Munster 'A'

2:00 pm · January 24, 2015

Knights 38 v Munster ‘A’ 17
In arguably the finest display of the season to date, The Knights produced a superb 80-minute showing versus Munster ‘A’ to claim their place in the British and & Irish Cup semi-final.

The Knights have reserved some of their better performances for the Cup competition this season but this afternoon’s display trumped the lot. Controlling proceedings from the first whistle to the last, against a much-fancied Munster ‘A’ side with considerable top-flight experience.

The early proceedings saw the visitors take hold of possession, keeping it patiently in the face of some fearsome tackling by the Knights defence. A bit of over eagerness at the breakdown cost Donny however as they were penalised for a ruck infringement. Fly half Rory Scannell successfully took the early opportunity to open the scoring, 0-3.

Undeterred the Knights produced an almost immediate response after Jon Phelan recovered the kick off for his side. A penalty then went Doncaster’s way and Piers Francis put it to the corner, a solid catch and drive was produced that looked as if it had ended in the game’s opening score but a fracas between members of both packs stopped play and resulted in a penalty for Munster.

Donny continued to attack and looked threatening when they got the ball out wide, an overlap down the left hand side had Irish defences scrambling but the final pass asked a little too much of winger Tyson Lewis. The home side showed a real prowess at the set piece all afternoon and it soon paid dividends, a powerful scrum forced a penalty that Francis put to touch. A lovely long throw from hooker Ben Hunter was collected and the Knights quickly organized a driving maul, they were able to get a nudge on and Michael Hills dived over to touch down. Flockhart converted for his first of six on target kicks.

An attack from Munster forced a hurried clearance from Lewis but a handling error gave the Knights pack another chance to assert their dominance. A replacement was made at loose head with Peter McCabe entering the fray a little over 25-minutes into the game but it mattered not as at the next scrum the Knights won another scrum penalty, which Piers Francis booted downfield. After the following line out the visitors fell foul of the referees whistle again and again Donny went to the corner.

Trying to replicate the earlier success another solid maul was formed this time though the Munster pack put a halt to the drive, however referee Dan Jones judged them to have done so illegally. With penalty advantage, the Knights moved the ball in field and strung together several phases of hard running rugby. Spotting half a gap scrum half Bruno Bravo wriggled his way through before jinking his way past a couple of would be defenders to touch down.

It would not be unfair to say the Knights could have been guilty of complaceny when in winning positions this season but that was certainly not the case this afternoon. Having established field position from yet another scrum penalty they went to their maul again and for a second time, rolled through the visiting defence to score and for a second time Hills was the man to emerge with the ball.

In the closing minutes of the first half Munster fought back and made inroads up field with some patient phase play. A clever chip ahead had Paul Jarvis in trouble but the full back managed to fight his way to the touchline and bring the first half to a close with a score of 21-3.

As expected the Munster side came out fired up for the second half but with the Knights set piece so dominant and defences strong they absorbed the early pressure. One more scrum penalty gave Dougie a chance to extend the lead; he did so comfortably. Things quickly got worse for the visitors when former British & Irish Lions and Munster’s most capped player Donncha O’Calaghan was sin-binned

More attacks fell Doncaster’s way and a half break from Piers Francis almost created a gap for Andy Bulumakau but the offload just fell short of centre’s grasp. The Knights were dealt a blow shortly after when Bravo, who had enjoyed a fine game to the point, was forced from the field holding his elbow to be replaced by Jack Maplesden. The change in personnel did little to stop the Knight flow and moments later they were in again. From a lineout outside of the Munster ‘A’ 22m the pack patiently and with great organization worked their way towards the Cork men’s line, committing more numbers they gained momentum. After what seemed like an age they got in to the red zone and flanker Makaafi grounded the ball. Flockhart’s successful kick meant that the Knights held a lead of 31-3 with less than half an hour to go.

Munster were not in the mood to give up though and only minute’s later they managed a score of their own. Hard running in midfield drew in Knights defenders before fly half Rory Scannell ran through a gap and barged his way over the try line. He quickly converted his attempt to reduce the deficit to 21 points.

Either side of the hour mark a host of substitutions were made by both coaches which interrupted the flow of the game somewhat but the Knights certainly never looked in danger of letting their lead slip as the game wore on. Chances came for both teams as Munster blew caution to the wind but it was Griff’s men who struck next. Unsurprisingly, the break came from another solid Knights scrum. Number eight Alex Shaw picked before spinning the ball out wide to Jack Maplesden who fed Paul Jarvis. The full back did superbly to break the line and set up a two on one, which Dougie Flockhart gladly finished off. The Scotsman converted and the match was won.

Credit must go to Munster A, who refused to lay down and with only seconds left in the tie replacement winger Dan Goggin produced a thundering run to breakthrough some weary tackling and touch down. The conversion was successful and with that the game was ended.

After a tricky couple of results for the Knights this performance reminded all those at Castle Park what this team is capable of. A complete performance where the pack dominating and back line looked threatening, we look ahead to the semi-final with great anticipation.

Match Statistics

15. Paul Jarvis (Paul Roberts 78’), 14. Dougie Flockhart, 13. Andy Bulumakau, 12. Bevon Armitage (Mat Clark 67’), 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Piers Francis, 9. Bruno Bravo. (Jack Maplesden 47’), 1. Richard List (Jack Bergmanas 67’), 2. Ben Hunter (Vili Veikoso 62’) 3. Ross Davies (WillGriff John 70’), 4 Tyler Hotson, 5. Jon Phelan, 6. Latu Makaafi (Matt Challinor 62’), 7. Michael Hills, 8. Alex Shaw.

Replacements; 16. Jack Bergmanas, 17. Viliame Veikoso, 18. Matt Challinor, 19. WillGriff John, 20 Mat Clark, 21. Paul Roberts, 22. Jack Maplesden.

Tries; Hills 15’, 36’, Bravo 26’ Makaafi 51’, Flockhart 76’
Conv; Flockhart 15’, 26, 36, 51’, 76’
Pens; Flockhart 44’

15. Stephen Fitzgerald, 14. Darren Sweetnam, 13. Dave Johnston, 12. Gearoid Lyons, 11. Greg O’Shea (Dan Goggin 53’), 10. Rory Scannell, 9. Neil Cronin (Jack Cullen 67’), 1. Liam O’Connor (Peter McCabe 23’), 2. Niall Scannell (Kevin O’Bryne 40’), 3. Ger Sweeney (Declan Lavery 53’), 4. Donncha O’Callaghan, 5. Lee Nicholas, 6. Shane Buckley, 7. Sean Dougall (Frank Bradshaw Ryan 62’), 8. Jack O’Donoghue (Ben Kilkenny 53’) ©

Replacements; 16. Kevin O’Bryne, 17. Peter McCabe, 18. Declan Lavery, 19. Frank Bradshaw Ryan, 20. Ben Kilkenny, 21. Jack Cullen, 22. Dan Goggin

Tries ; Scannell 57’ , Goggin 80’
Conv; Scannell 57’ Goggin 80’
Pens; Scannell 4’,

Attendance: 1,174
Referee: Dan Jones

Our Partners