1st XV Match Preview V Munster A Team (Home) Sat 23/04/2011 

THE BIG MATCH PREVIEW – by Glyn Barlow


Moseley v Munster A

Saturday 23rd April 3.00pm @ Billesley

 

Well Moseley at least finished the season in fine style winning the last four matches in a row. Saturday's 30 – 25 win over Plymouth Albion was a good test of the team’s character, having to come back from one point down with only seven minutes left.

 

Credit to both teams that this game was one of the best seen at Billesley all season and certainly not a “dead” game with both teams having already secured their places in next seasons Championship.

 

The win also proved a fitting way for Ian Smith to finish his Championship coaching with Moseley. Having taken the club from national Division 2 to the Championship, with the odd cup along the way, Ian can look back with some pride on his time at Billesley Common.

 

So with the Championship over the team can relax. Well, not quite, there is a little matter of a visit from over the Irish Sea when Saturday sees a very welcome visit of Munster’s A side. While this is meant to be the province's B&I Cup team, it apparently will feature a number of players returning from injury, including record breaking Irish International prop, John Hayes.

 

Anyone thinking this will be an easy run in the sun needs just to look at Munster A’s results in the B&I Cup this season. Big wins over Melrose & Esher suggest Moseley need to raise their game one last time to the levels they have achieved in the previous four matches.

 

Munster A in The B&I Cup

 

15th October 2010

Munster A

13 – 15

Llanelli

11th December 2010

Melrose

14 - 47

Munster A

14th January 2011

Nottingham

14 - 15

Munster A

21st January 2011

Munster A

64 – 9

Esher

22nd February 2011

Bristol

27 - 10

Munster A

 

Munster just missed out on qualifying for the quarter finals of this year’s competition being beaten to 3rd place by Llanelli. This may have been considered a disappointing result in comparison to their runners up place in 2009 – 10. While try scoring was shared evenly across the squad, Declan Cusack proved to be a reliable kicker converting 15 of Munster’s tries.

 

Munster will be arriving at Billesley hoping some of the luck of the green has rubbed onto them from the senior team which currently tops the Mangers league.

 

Munster rugby, founded in 1880, has a proud tradition of rugby, having beaten the All Blacks in 1978 and most recently Australia 15 – 6 in 2010. The Province plays its home games at Thormond Park, Limerick and Musgrave Park, Cork.

 

Munster’s A team is normally a mix of senior and academy squad members plus players called up from Clubs such as Cork Constitution, Dolphin & St Mary’s. Notable players who have appeared for Munster A this season include Alan Quinlan with 27 caps for Ireland and All Black Sam Tuitupou. The side has been captained this season by 6’ 6” lock Dave Foley and included promising young player Paddy Butler, a 19 year old No 8, in what is always a strong pack. Experience is brought to the team in the form of Coach Antony Foley, record holder for most Munster appearances along with 62 Irish caps.

 

Munster A enjoys a strong supporter base and it is thought that a number will take the opportunity of a bank holiday trip to support their team. The Fields of Athenry ringing out on a sunny Easter Saturday at Billesley.  Entertaining rugby from two on-form teams. Where else would you want to be?

 

Let’s hope both teams provide a fitting climax to the 2010/11 season, and that the Moseley players give Ian a win to remember for his last game at the club.