Thursday 22 February 2018

Keatley's debut try fails to rescue Reds

La Rochelle 19 Munster 14

An understrength Munster side were 19-0 down inside half an hour and, despite a late rally, were unable to prevent defeat in their opening pre-season game.

At the Stade Marcel Deflandre, Ian Keatley scored a try on his Munster debut to bring them back into contention after their disastrous opening, but, ultimately, it was to no avail.

Tony McGahan's men were on the back foot from the outset and were 12-0 down inside 13 minutes. La Rochelle full-back Benjamin Dambielle and centre Vincent Roux both crossed for tries. They grabbed a third try after 29 minutes through Maxime Lebourhis.

Dave O'Callaghan, James Coughlan and Danny Barnes did a lot to get Munster back into the game, before Scott Deasy opened The Reds account when he chased a Simon Zebo grubber-kick after a surging run down the right from James Coughlan, with Declan Cusack adding the points to leave it 19-7 at the interval.

Munster made 10 changes at the break and they improved significantly, with Peter Stringer and Keatley impressing.

Another replacement, Sean Scanlon, helped set up the try for Keatley, which the former Connacht out-half converted.

La Rochelle -- B Dambielle; M Lebourhis, V Roux, J Jacquet, F Ninard; S Fauque, D Neveu; P Toderasc, F Pani, G Guillon; F Jacob, R Sazy; R Carmignani, P Som, T Soucaze. Reps used (rotated): C Groberl, T Leupolu, B Geledan, U Antonio, B Ferrou, I Rodriguez-Muedra, G Devade, S Clement, R Mohr, N Djebaili, A To-oala, Q D'aram de Valada, D Cler, S Barry, A Cestaro.

Munster -- J Murphy; D Hurley, D Barnes (S Scanlon h-t), S Deasy (JJ Hanrahan 53), S Zebo; D Cusack (I Keatley h-t), G Hurley (P Stringer h-t); W du Preez (M Horan h-t), D Varley (D Fogarty h-t), S Archer (P Borlase h-t); B Holland (I Nagle h-t), M O'Driscoll; D O'Callaghan (P O'Mahony h-t), T O'Donnell (N Ronan h-t), J Coughlan (P Butler h-t).

Ref -- M Pomarede (France).

Irish Independent

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