Saturday 16 December 2017

Botha injury concern as Munster swept aside


Under-strength Munster were easily brushed aside in a disappointing performance as they failed to score when falling to their second pre-season loss at Musgrave Park last night.

And the defeat was made all the worse for Tony McGahan as a debut for Springbok prop BJ Botha lasted less than half and hour due to a calf injury. Two tries in the last quarter from Tom Varndell and Matt Everard meant Wasps face into a Premiership campaign with a morale-boosting win.

Wasps struck for the opening try from Varndell just after the hour mark and it was some quick thinking from Charlie Davis that sprung the Munster defence.

The home side were penalised deep in their own '22' for collapsing a Wasps maul, but a quick-tap penalty from Davis was passed rapidly through the hands right across the field and Varndell was on hand to apply the finish.

And in the last move of the game, Everard breached the Munster line for Wasps' second try after a five-metre line-out was shoved over the Munster try-line.


Line-out practice was the order of the day for Munster, who were awarded 10 first-half penalties, and refused to take a pop at goal on each occasion. As a result, the penalties continued to flow from Wasps, but after referee Dudley Phillips awarded number nine, out-half Ryan Davis was the unlucky recipient of the yellow card.

The ball was often tediously slow coming back for Wasps scrum-half Nic Berry, but when Dougie Howlett was penalised for tackling Varndell without the ball, Davis gave the visitors a deserved 3-0 lead with a 15th-minute penalty.

Shortly after, Botha limped from the pitch and Wasps should have crossed for the game's first try, but some poor handling from Christian Wade produced a knock-on.

And on the cusp of half-time Lifeimi Mafi let Munster's best chance slip away when he chose to let Declan Cusack's through-kick bounce behind the Wasps try-line.

It was more of the same toil after the break, with both coaches choosing to empty the benches, and Varndell's try and conversion from Nick Robinson handing Wasps a deserved victory.

With London Irish up in the final warm-up match for Munster ahead of their opening PRO 12 clash with the Dragons, McGahan still has plenty of work to do.

Munster -- S Deasy; D Howlett, D Barnes (D Hurley 53), L Mafi (S Scanlon 53), S Zebo, D Cusack (T Gleeson 53), P Stringer (D Williams h-t); W du Preez (M Horan 53), M Sherry (D Fogarty 47), BJ Botha (S Archer 29); B Holland (D Foley 47), I Nagle; D O'Callaghan (J Coughlan 53; P Butler 61), P O'Mahony, P Butler (T O'Donnell 53).

Wasps -- J Wallace (R Haughton h-t); C Wade, C Mayor (A Cheesman 62), C Bell, T Varndell; R Davis, N Berry (C Davis h-t); J Castex (B Baker 52), T Lindsay (N Morris 45), S McIntyre (B Broster 31; G Roa 68); J Cannon, M Wentzel (M Everard h-t); R Birkett (B Vunipola 40), J Harris, J Hart.

REF -- D Phillips (IRFU).

Irish Independent

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