Rugby Union: Munro a power in Scots scrum

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Ireland A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Scotland A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

A CLASS performance by Shade Munro left Scotland's rugby selectors feeling acutely embarrassed in the aftermath of yesterday's A- team international here, which saw Ireland collapse from 13-0. Munro of the victorious Scottish pack does not have an invitation to play in Saturday's trial, for which teams were announced a week ago.

But if the 6ft 7in lock was suffering any inferiority complex, it did not show. Scotland gradually cultivated primary possession until they were able to increase the tempo and launch a comeback which brought a 4-1 try count.

'The first half was continually broken up by stoppages which suited Ireland's solid pack,' David Johnston, the Scotland A coach, said. The Scottish scrum certainly improved but without dispelling the notion that Alan Sharp, the Bristol prop, will claim a spot provided he merely survives this weekend's trial.

While Ireland may rue for some time the sad departure of the tight-head prop Garry Halpin with a neck injury, Scotland's manager, Duncan Paterson, pronounced the mission to Lansdowne Road a success in terms of preparation for the Five Nations' Championship.

Paterson could not resist special mention for Tony Stanger, whose two tries proved he had regained his appetite for the game after an indifferent summer tour of Australia. The likelihood now is that Stanger will claim the right wing berth, with Derek Stark set to win his first cap on the left.

Scotland's other tries came from Andy Nicol and Kenny Logan and particularly pleasing was the way the backs were able to cause damage from set-piece possession. Another notable success was the flanker Ian Morrison.

Morrison will have considerably increased his prospects of a debut run at the expense of Ian Smith, although the Scots will have to recast their trial back rows as a consequence of an ankle injury which will sideline Carl Hogg for a week.

Garry Halpin, stretchered off after 70 minutes, has been ruled out of the Irish trial on Sunday and perhaps the only inspiration for the selectors lay in the performance of the No 8 Ben Cronin, whose early try owed much to the quick hands of Niall Malone at stand-off.

Ireland A: Try Cronin; Conversion Malone; Penalties Malone 2. Scotland A: Tries Stanger 2, Nicol, Logan; Conversion Townsend.

IRELAND A: C Wilkinson (Malone); C Leahy (Wanderers), B Walsh (Cork Constitution), B Glennon (Lansdowne), N Woods (Blackrock); N Malone (Oxford University), R Saunders (London Irish); P Soden (Cork Constitution), M Patton (Oxford University, capt), G Halpin (London Irish), D Tweed (Ballymena), R Costello (Garryowen), L Dineen (Cork Constitution), B Cronin (Garryowen), K McKee (Instonians). Replacement: P Millar (Ballymena) for Halpin, 72.

SCOTLAND A: K Logan (Stirling County); A Stanger (Hawick), G Townsend (Gala), I Jardine (Stirling County), M Appleson (London Scottish); G Shiel (Melrose), A Nicol (Dundee HSFP, capt); A Watt (Glasgow High/Kelvinside), K Milne (Heriot's FP), P Wright (Boroughmuir), A Reed (Bath), S Munro (Glasgow High/Kelvinside), D McIntosh (Pontypridd), C Hogg (Melrose), I Morrison (London Scottish). Replacements: G Wilson (Boroughmuir) for Watt, 72; A MacDonald (Heriot's FP) for Hogg, 62.

Referee: D Matthews (England).

Back on the ball, page 23

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