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Ryan's form continues, Casey's strong start in Grenoble and a US debut for Fawsitt

Here’s how the Irishmen based abroad got on over the weekend.

WHILE THE PROVINCES had a tough weekend, Leinster aside, a host of Irish players featured in league competitions abroad.

Here, we round-up the Irish involvement in the Premiership, Championship, Top 14, Pro D2, Italian league and Americas Rugby Championship in recent days.

  Top 14

Donnacha Ryan was in the second row as Racing 92 continued their fine recent run in the French top flight with a fifth consecutive win yesterday, a 19-12 victory over La Rochelle.

Nenagh man Ryan played the entire 80 minutes for Racing as they ensured they are keeping the pressure on Top 14 leaders Montpellier, with Vern Cotter’s side two points ahead of Racing.

Donnacha Ryan Ryan is in strong form for Racing. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Pau enjoyed an excellent 21-16 win away to Brive on Saturday, with former Munster back row Sean Dougall starting in the number seven shirt. The 28-year-old has been a key part of the Pau set-up this season.

His fellow ex-Munster man Dave Foley had been in line to make a return from injury on the bench but was replaced at a late stage after suffering an illness.

Agen and starting tighthead Dave Ryan had a tough day at home to Toulouse, conceding eight tries in a 52-25 defeat.

With Brive having lost, the defeat for Agen saw them miss an opportunity to jump out of the relegation zone, but they remain just two points off the safety of 12th place.

Bottom side Oyonnax, for whom Mike Prendergast is attack coach, lost 43-30 at home to leaders Montpellier, while Bordeaux and their forwards coach Jeremy Davidson were beaten 7-6 at home by Castres.

Pro D2

Hooker Duncan Casey made his second start for Grenoble in a 24-21 win for the club against Montauban yesterday, having joined recently from Munster.

The 27-year-old had made his first appearance in the number two shirt in a 21-20 win over Vannes at the start of the month and will hope for another success away to Narbonne on Friday evening.

Former Leinster centre Eamonn Sheridan was in the 12 shirt for Carcassonne as beat Colomiers 35-29, a second consecutive win for the 15th-placed side, who now have their sights set on rising up the table.

Duncan Casey Duncan Casey has had a great start to life in Grenoble. Source: Dan Sheirdan/INPHO

Ex-Munster lock John Madigan was a replacement in Massy’s 44-31 defeat away to Beziers, while his fellow Munster man Frank Bradshaw Ryan started in the second row in Nevers’ 33-15 victory over Mont de Marsan, moving them up to 10th place.

Aviva Premiership

Mark McCall’s Saracens rose to the top of the Premiership with a 13-3 win away to Sale Sharks on Friday night, with Irish lock Mark Flanagan included on their bench.

Exeter had a chance to regain their place at the summit of the table yesterday, but lost 13-7 to Wasps.

Gareth Steenson started at out-half for the Chiefs and kicked a conversion, while Ian Whitten came off the bench, but it was a disappointing day for Rob Baxter’s side.

Former Leinster centre Brendan Macken was a second-half replacement for Wasps, making his fourth Premiership appearance of the season.

Conor Gilsenan came off the bench for bottom side London Irish as they went down to their 14th defeat in 15 league games against Northampton, the ex-Leinster man making his eighth appearance of the Premiership campaign.

Former Ireland and Munster man Donncha O’Callaghan captained Worcester to an important 25-15 win over David Humphrey‘s Gloucester, ensuring they remain just three points behind 10th-placed Northampton.

Greene King IPA Championship

Bristol’s perfect season under Pat Lam continued with a 16th win from 16 in England’s second tier, as a nine-try 55-15 win away to London Scottish saw them earn a 14th try-scoring bonus-point of the campaign.

Jason Harris-Wright Jason Harris-Wright has been a key man for Bristol. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Former Leinster and Connacht hooker Jason Harris-Wright scored a try off the bench, while out-half Ian Madigan added a conversion after coming on and loosehead prop Jack O’Connell made his 50th league appearance for the club as a replacement.

Former Ireland U20s lock Joe Joyce was in the Bristol starting team, his 13th league appearance of a strong season, while ex-Irish Exiles U18s cap Jack Tovey was at outside centre.

Another ex-Ireland U20 international was at fullback for the defeated London Scottish side, former Sale Sharks man Charlie Ingall making his eighth start of the season.

Ealing Trailfinders maintained their fine campaign in second place in the Championship, a 32-24 victory away to Jersey ensuring a 13th win in 16 games.

Former Stade Français man Peter Lydon was at fullback and kicked 13 points off the tee, while ex-Ireland U19 international Piers O’Conor started at outside centre.

Jerry Sexton‘s strong season for Jersey continued with another game in the second row, meaning he has started every single one of the club’s games in the Championship.

Ex-Ulster scrum-half Michael Heaney was in the nine shirt as third-placed Doncaster Knights beat Hartpury College 48-38, with former Munster out-half Declan Cusack coming off the bench.

Ian Costello‘s Nottingham enjoyed a dramatic 18-17 win at home to Cornish Pirates, with a last-gasp penalty sealing the success.

Ian Costello Ian Costello will be joining Wasps this summer. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

There were five former Munster players in the starting side in the shape of tighthead Rory Burke, openside Jordan Coghlan, number eight Shane Buckley, inside centre Gearoid Lyons and fullback Sean Scanlon. Buckley was a try scorer for Nottingham.

Former Ulster hooker Johnny Murphy and ex-Ireland Exiles fullback Caolan Ryan started for Rotherham in their 18-15 home defeat to a Bedford side that included ex-Leinster loosehead prop Sean McCarthy.

Former Ulster tighthead prop Craig Trenier made his 16th appearance of the league season for Richmond, coming off the bench in a 28-22 defeat to Yorkshire Carnegie.

Guinness Pro14

The Scarlets picked up a losing bonus-point in Dublin as they went down 20-13 to Leinster and Munster-bound Tadhg Beirne was able to impress once again as his superb season continued.

Bernard Jackman‘s Dragons suffered an 18-15 defeat at home to a Treviso team that included Ireland-born Italy international Ian McKinley at fullback. It was Kieran Crowley’s side’s fifth Pro14 win in a row.

There was joy for the other Italian outfit too, as Michael Bradley‘s Zebre beat Connacht in Galway on a 19-11 scoreline.

Former Connacht man Ciaran Gaffney started at fullback but was forced off through injury early on, while another ex-Connacht back, Rory Parata, made his second start for Zebre on the left wing.

Campionato di Eccellenza

Former Young Munster and Connacht ‘A’ back Ed O’Keefe scored a try off the left wing for Viadana in their 15-18 defeat at home to Rovigo. O’Keefe was making his 12th league appearance since his move to Italy.

Ed O'Keefe St. Munchin's alumnus O'Keefe is playing in Italy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

International

Former Greystones, Blackrock College and St. Mary’s hooker Dylan Fawsitt made his debut for USA in their 45-13 win over Chile in the Americas Rugby Championship.

Fawsitt qualified to play for the US on residency grounds, having spent three years studying and playing at Life University, the same institution AJ MacGinty attended.

Irishman Greg McWilliams is the attack and backs coach under Gary Gold, and the Eagles lead the Americas Rugby Championship after three wins from three games so far.

- This article was updated at 12.44am on 20 February to add the word ‘in’ to the opening sentence.

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Murray Kinsella

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