Francis Saili injury mars Munster victory over London Irish

New Zealander scores first try for province but leaves field in neck brace

Munster’s Francis Saili runs in for a try in the pre-season match against London Irish at Musgrave Park. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster’s Francis Saili runs in for a try in the pre-season match against London Irish at Musgrave Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Munster 21 London Irish 15

Andrew Conway sparkled for Munster with two tries, while Francis Saili ran in a brilliant first try for the province in a pre-season victory against London Irish at Musgrave Park.

However the New Zealander left the action on a stretcher 15 minutes from time with his neck in a brace following 10 minutes of on-field treatment, which marred Munster’s first pre-season win a week out from the start of the Pro12.

Facing a London Irish side in their first game of pre-season, Munster failed to light up the Cork venue in the early stages, instead the first quarter was littered with errors.

It took until 16 minutes from the interval for the home side to take the lead when Conway made it to the tryline.

It was Dave O’Callaghan who breached the London Irish defensive line at halfway and after he laid off to Conway the fullback chased down his own kick through to score.

Eighteen-year-old Bill Johnston added the extra points, but after breaking the deadlock Munster finished out the half second best. Alex Lewington twice came within inches of bagging a try for London Irish, but some sharp work in defence kept him at bay.

Munster led 7-0 at the interval and despite making seven changes at the half, London Irish drew first blood after the restart when No 10 Theo Brophy-Clews kicked a penalty after John Madigan was caught on the wrong side of the ruck.

Things improved for Munster from there though, and after a yellow card for David Paice, Conway’s quickly taken penalty give him the yard needed to creep over for a 14-3 lead.

A wonderful sidestep sent Saili over for his first Munster try in the 54th minute, which brought the 5,208 in attendance to their feet, but his late injury sustained in the tackle brought the game to a quiet conclusion.

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