Keatley and Sexton grab tries, while Irish trio make Pro D2 team of the week

THE SECOND REST weekend of the Six Nations saw the four provinces in Guinness Pro14 action, while there was lots of Irish involvement in the leagues abroad too.

In this article, we round-up the Irish Abroad’s involvement in England and France, as well as the Guinness Pro14 and Major League Rugby, in recent days.   

Gallagher Premiership

Ian Madigan came off the bench to kick a conversion and a late penalty in a much-needed 28-24 win for Pat Lam’s Bristol over David Humphreys‘ Gloucester on Friday night, lifting them to 10th in the table.

Madigan and Bristol had a crucial win over Gloucester. Source: David Davies

Ex-Ireland U19 Sevens international Callum Sheedy started at out-half and kicked two penalties, with the win coming as a boost to a Bristol coaching staff that includes John Muldoon and Conor McPhillips.

Exeter remain at the top of the table after a 20-14 win away to Sale Sharks on Saturday, with Ian Whitten at outside centre and Gareth Steenson kicking a conversion and a penalty from out-half.

Mark McCall‘s Saracens are only three points off the Chiefs following a five-try 36-17 success against Northampton.

Bath, where Girvan Dempsey is attack coach, had a disappointing result at home to Harlequins on Saturday, losing 31-29 after conceding a last-gasp try. 

Geordan Murphy‘s Leicester Tigers enjoyed a 19-14 victory over Wasps, who count defence specialist Ian Costello among their coaching staff. 

Geordan Murphy’s Tigers had an important win. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Bottom club Newcastle Falcons had a precious 17-6 win at home to Worcester, whose attack coach is ex-Ulster head coach Neil Doak.

Worcester used former Ulster pair Callum Black and Michael Heaney off the bench in the defeat, while former Ireland U20s hooker George McGuigan started for Newcastle and out-half Brett Connon was on the bench.

Greene King IPA Championship

Declan Kidney‘s London Irish notched another big bonus-point win to leave themselves 10 points clear at the top of England’s second tier, hammering London Scottish 52-21 on Saturday.

Out-half Ian Keatley scored his second try in two starts for the club and added six conversions, while former Leinster centre Brendan Macken started in the 13 shirt and ex-Connacht back row Conor Gilsenan made his eight appearance of the season off the bench.

Former Ireland U20 international Charlie Ingall scored two tries for the defeated London Scottish, the 29-year-old bringing his tally for the Championship season to eight.

Second-placed Ealing Trailfinders came back from 14-0 down to beat Hartpury 22-14, with former Kilkenny College and Seapoint fullback Peter Lydon kicking a conversion and hammering over a penalty from inside his own half.

Ex-Munster back David Johnston made his fifth start of the season at outside centre for Ealing, while former Munster academy scrum-half Ryan Foley came off the bench.

Former Ireland U20 loosehead prop Des Merrey started for Hartpury but was yellow-carded.

The impressive Jersey Reds – who operate on a relatively low budget – remained in strong form with a 41-21 victory at home to Doncaster, with second row Jerry Sexton and Irish-qualified 20-year-old wing James Newey among the try-scorers.

Former Ulster out-half Brett Herron, another Irish-qualified player, scored two tries and kicked four conversions and a penalty, while another ex-Ulsterman, Mark Best, made his 12th start of the season at inside centre.

Ex-Ulster back row Conor Joyce is back from injury. Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Ex-Ireland U20 and Ulster back row Conor Joyce, still building towards full fitness after a spell on the sidelines through injury, came off the bench for Jersey.

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Bedford Blues suffered an agonising home defeat to Yorkshire Carnegie, going down 45-44 scoreline after a last-gasp Yorkshire try on Friday night.

Loosehead prop Sean McCarthy and former Leinster second row Mark Flanagan were in the starting Bedford team once again.

Former Ireland U20s hooker Tadhg McElroy, who is on loan from Saracens, came off the bench to score a try for the Blues, as did 21-year-old Irish-qualified scrum-half James Lennon, who has previously had a stint with Munster’s academy. 

Former Leinster U19 back row Paddy Ryan, who came through Cill Dara RFC and Newbridge College, was among the Bedford replacements, having joined on dual status from Northampton. 

Ryan signed for Northampton’s academy at the start of the 2017/18 season and went on to score a try in the that season’s Premiership Rugby A League final success against Exeter. Ryan made his first senior start for the Saints in the Premiership Rugby Cup in November and is now gaining experience with Bedford.

Cornish Pirates remain fifth in the table after losing 20-18 on the road to Nottingham, with Rory Parata making his 14th start of the season in the defeat.

Former Munster fullback Sean Scanlon scored a superb 60-metre try for Nottingham, having earlier been denied a 50-metre effort.

Scanlon was joined in the starting team by ex-Leinster tighthead Oisin Heffernan, former Munster back rows Jordan Coghlan and Shane Buckley and ex-Connacht out-half Shane O’Leary, who is now a Canada international. Former Munster academy back Gearoid Lyons was on the bench for Nottingham.

Elsewhere, ex-Ulster and Terenure tighthead Craig Trenier started for Richmond in a 20-16 defeat away to Coventry. 

Top 14

Donnacha Ryan came off the bench in Racing 92′s eight-try 50-14 hammering of Jono Gibbes’ La Rochelle on Saturday, the Irishman playing the closing quarter of a win that lifts the Parisians to seventh in the table.

Ex-Munster hooker Duncan Casey featured for Grenoble. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Pau had an important 27-17 win at home against Agen, with former Munster back row Paddy Butler used off the bench as his fellow ex-Munster man Dave Ryan started at tighthead for the defeated Agen. 

Stade Français, where Paul O’Connell and Mike Prendergast are coaching, dropped to eight in the league after a 28-9 defeat at home to leaders Toulouse, who remain in excellent form. Former Connacht loosehead Denis Coulson, who has joined as a medical joker, made his second appearance for Stade Français off the bench.

Ex-Munster hooker Duncan Casey made his eighth Top 14 appearance of the season off the bench in Grenoble’s 52-17 defeat away to Clermont.

Former Ulster and Ireland out-half Paddy Jackson came off the bench in Perpignan’s 24-11 loss at home to Toulon yesterday.

Pro D2

Nevers returned to the top of the Pro D2 with a 38-12 victory over Colomiers on Friday that saw former Shannon lock Frank Bradshaw Ryan impressing enough to earn a place in French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique’s team of the week. 

Frank Bradshaw Ryan in Munster A colours in 2015. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Jeremy Davidson‘s Brive team sit fourth, only five points off Nevers, after picking up a losing bonus point as they came up short on a 31-27 scoreline away to Bourg-en-Bresse, with former Ulster and Ireland midfielder Stuart Olding making his 17th start of the season at inside centre.

Once-capped Ireland international Jamie Hagan was at tighthead for Béziers as they beat Mont de Marsan 19-16 to shift up to fifth place in the Pro D2 ladder, the former Leinster and Connacht prop making his 13th appearance of the season.

Vannes remain in eighth position after beating Massy 26-12, with former Ireland and Ulster lock Dan Tuohy influential – also earning him a spot in Midi Olympique’s team of the week.

Former Leinster centre Eamonn Sheridan was in the 12 shirt for the beaten Massy, who are bottom of the table after four wins in 23 games so far.

Carcassonne are up to 10th following a 21-20 win at home to Biarritz in which former Munster academy flyer Steven McMahon scored his sixth try of the season from fullback.

The Dungarvan RFC and Rockwell College product made it three Irish players in the Midi Olympique team of the week.

Major League Rugby

Rugby United New York made it three wins from four games so far with a 35-8 win on the road against Justin Fitzpatrick‘s Houston SaberCats on Sunday.

Cathal Marsh and RUNY are in good form. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Former St Mary’s and Greystones hooker Dylan Fawsitt was among their try-scorers, while ex-Leinster out-half Cathal Marsh kicked three conversions.

Dolphin RFC pair James Rochford and Paddy Ryan – a US international like Fawsitt – made it an all-Irish front row for RUNY, while former Kilkenny College and Lansdowne FC man Ross Deacon was at number eight.

Shannon’s Will Leonard was at inside centre again, while he was joined in midfield by Lansdowne’s Mark O’Keeffe. Former Blackrock College and Connacht academy scrum-half Marcus Walsh came off the bench in the win.

The starting Houston team included former Connacht loosehead Jamie Dever and ex-Ireland U20s international tighthead Charlie Connolly, as well as Irish-qualified halfbacks Connor Murphy and Sam Windsor.

Guinness Pro14

Michael Bradley‘s Zebre suffered a 42-10 defeat at home to Glasgow Warriors that sees them now 18 points adrift at the bottom of Conference A, while Allen Clarke‘s Ospreys were hammered 46-5 by Connacht to leave them eight points off the play-off spots.

Italy international Ian McKinley started Benetton’s 18-10 win over Edinburgh, kicking a penalty in the first half. 

– This article was updated at 9.19pm on 4 March to include mention of Denis Coulson’s appearance for Stade Français.

– This article was updated at 5.03pm on 5 March to correct ‘Naas RFC’ to ‘Cill Dara RFC’ in relation to Paddy Ryan.

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