FOLLOWING EACH BRUISING weekend of rugby we cast an eye over our pro players earning a crust beyond these shores. Mr Kidney, you’re welcome….
In England’s top flight, Shane Monahan grabbed the green headlines with a try in Gloucester’s 25-31 win away to London Welsh yesterday.
The five-pointer was the Meath man’s first score for his new club after his 11-try haul earned him a transfer from Championship side Rotherham.
The try came with Welsh down to 14 men as Monahan’s direct opponent Nick Scott was sin-binned for knocking down a pass to prevent a certain try.
After fly-half Freddie Burns had tapped over the resulting penalty, he caught the hosts napping, setting Monahan on his way to the line.
There were no Irish players on show in yesterday’s big game, but former Ulster boss Mark McCall masterminded a 16-18 victory away to Conor O’Shea’s champion Harlequins. The win coming thanks to six penalties from fly-half Owen Farrell.
On Saturday, Leicester Tigers’ Niall Morris (pictured) deputised for Geordan Murphy, playing 80 minutes of the 30 – 8 victory over the Exeter Chiefs.
The former Leinster fullback did not make it onto the scoresheet – his partner in the back three, Adam Thompstone, provided all three Tigers tries – but he was confident and assured under the high ball, given credit for one Toby Flood score after sustaining a tackle in the air.
In opposition was Ian Whitten, who came close to the try-line when the score was just 7-3.
Joining Whitten in in the defeated ranks were Sale Sharks’ Tony Buckley and Cillian Willis (plus Sam Tuitupou). The prop and scrum half endured a chastening 31-10 defeat in Bath and were replaced by Aston Croall and Nathan Fowles in the second half.
The result leaves Sharks rooted to the foot of the table with only a point from five games this season. Their closest rivals, London Irish, have four points this season, but half backs Ian Humphreys and Tomas O’Leary couldn’t help add to that tally and they fell the wrong end of Worcester Warriors bonus point 35-11 win.
Down in the Championship, Kieran Hallet kicked five vital second half points (eight in total) in Cornish Pirates’ 18-18 draw in Doncaster. Plymouth Albion recorded a 15 -3 win at home to Rotherham Titans thanks to a dominant pack performance and the service of scrum-half Ruairi Cushion.
Ex-Leinster wing Brendan Burke was part of 13-man Bedford’s spirited 19-29 win over Jersey, while a try from Ulsterman David McIlwaine was not enough to prevent Bristol losing 21-22 to Kevin Maggs’ Mosely.
Slightly closer to home, you may have noticed Cardiff Blues flanker Robin Copeland in the Pro12. He was on the end of Ulster’s outstanding 19-48 win at the Cardiff Arms Park on Friday night. Blindside is never a nice place to be when the opposition number eight has decided to do a decent impression of a wrecking ball and the former St Mary’s man will enjoy easier outings than against an in-form Nick Williams.
We’ll spare you the trip to France this week, but we’ll leave you with this postcard from Denis Fogarty, who (evidently) is enjoying a week off from his tough schedule with Aurillac.