‘Lessons learned’ as strong Munster munch Melrose in second-half blitz

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Melrose 14

Munster A 47

BRITISH AND IRISH CUP

STUART CAMERON reports from

the Greenyards

Everyone connected with the club worked wonders to get this match on and the many volunteers who helped clear the pitch deserve a huge pat on the back for their efforts.

Who would have thought we would have been watching a rugby match at the Greenyards when three days earlier there were 18 inches of snow covering the pitch and temperatures of -14C?

Munster A proved to be too strong for the Borders outfit and, after a fantastic Melrose display in the first half, ran away with the match in the second period.

It was a historic game with Melrose in front just before the interval in the club’s first game in this cross-border competition organised by the RFU.

Tries by Edinburgh pro Netani Talei and Garry Elder, both converted by Scott Wight, looked to have put the home team in at half-time 14-7 up, but a soft try from Ivan Dineen deep into stoppage time, along with a touchline conversion from Declan Cusack, meant it was 14-14 at the break.

At that stage, although Munster had more of the territory and possession, the fighting spirit from Melrose shone through and they were competitive at the very least in the early exchanges.

Indeed, there was no score until 17 minutes when flanker David O’Callaghan scored the opening try for the visitors, who were fielding a very strong team which included three full Irish internationals. But tries from Danny Barnes, Tom Gleeson, Peter Borlase and a brace by Kieron Essex in the second half, gave the Emerald Isle outfit the victory. Fly half Declan Cusack had a good day with the boot, converting six of the seven tries, to give them their first win from two games in this competition. Grant Runciman was Melrose’s best player on the day, although full credit goes to all who wore the yellow and black jersey.

Melrose coach Craig Chalmers was very proud of his team, particularly in the first half.

“We have all learned a lot from this game. Don’t forget these are full-time pros and despite the scoreline we played some outstanding rugby,” he said.

Melrose will have another opportunity to get going in this competition this weekend when they again play hosts, this time to English opposition in the form of Esher. With lessons learned, a much closer game is expected.

You can watch highlights of the match exclusively on Borders Rugby Television at www.BordersRugby.net

Melrose: F. Thomson; C. Anderson, J. Murray, J. Helps, D. McColl; S. Wight, R. Chrystie; N. Little, G. Innes, N. Beavon, G. Dodds, G. Elder, J. Dalziel, G. Runciman, N. Talei. Subs: R. Ferguson, G. Holborn, M. Hayden, R. Miller, S. McCormick, C. Jackson, C. Shaw.

Munster A: S. Deasy; D. Barnes, T. Gleeson, I. Dineen, B. Murphy; D. Cusack, C. Murray; D. Ryan, S. Henry, P. Borlase, B. Holland, D. Ryan, D. O’Callaghan, T. O’Donnell, P. Butler. Subs: D. Casey, S. Archer, D. Foley, K. Essex, C. Sheridan, T. Smith, S. Scanlon.