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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 28 March, 2020

Ex-Munster man Casey makes Top 14 debut as Zebo and Ryan score tries

Gareth Steenson has helped Exeter Chiefs to an excellent start to the new season.

THE ENGLISH LEAGUES CONTINUED last weekend with plenty of Irish involvement, while France’s Top 14 and Pro D2 also featured many Irish players and coaches.

Here, we round-up the Irish Abroad’s involvement in England and France, as well as the Guinness Pro14 and Southern Hemisphere, in recent days. 

Top 14

Former Munster back row Paddy Butler was at number eight as Pau secured a valuable away win to Grenoble yesterday, the 27-year-old completing the full 80 minutes in a 24-21 success that leaves Simon Mannix’s men sixth in the table.

P Butler Paddy Butler breaks for Pau.

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Another ex-Munster man, hooker Duncan Casey, made his Top 14 debut after coming off the Grenoble bench for the closing 30 minutes.

Having helped the club to promotion last season, 27-year-old Casey will now hope to feature in a rise up the league from Grenoble’s current 13th position.

Racing 92 moved up to second in the ladder thanks to a nine-try 59-7 win at home to Agen on Saturday.

Donnacha Ryan started in the second row for Racing and scored his first try for the club, while Simon Zebo played the closing 36 minutes off the bench and scored his second try in three Top 14 games.

Ryan Donnacha Ryan scored his first try for Racing.

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Ireland international Paddy Jackson kicked a conversion and three penalties but couldn’t help to prevent Perpignan losing 22-16 at home to Lyon. Three defeats in three games mean Perpignan are bottom of the league.

Stade Français, for whom Paul O’Connell and Mike Prendergast are assistant coaches, suffered their first defeat of the season, going down 42-20 to Clermont, who have started the campaign impressively to top the table with three wins from three.

Pro D2

Former Munster academy player Steven McMahon was at fullback as Carcassonne notched their second win of the season to move up to sixth in the Pro D2.

Jeremy Davidson‘s Brive shifted up to ninth after a 27-6 win at home to Béziers, with Stuart Olding playing at out-half again for the victors.

Nevers had Frank Bradshaw-Ryan in the second row as they beat a Massy team including his fellow ex-Munster man John Madigan.

Eamonn Sheridan Ex-London Irish centre Eamonn Sheridan is now with Massy. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Former Leinster centre Eamonn Sheridan started in the 12 shirt for Massy in their defeat.

Ex-Ulster lock Dan Tuohy came off the bench for Vannes as they lost 38-23 away to Provence Rugby, meaning they drop to 13th in the table.

Gallagher Premiership

Gareth Steenson‘s place-kicking accuracy helped Exeter Chiefs to make it two wins from two to start their season, with the former Ulster out-half slotting the conversions for all six of their tries in a 42-31 win away to Wasps, whose defence coach is former Munster assistant Ian Costello.

Steenson’s fellow Ulsterman, Ian Whitten, was on the right wing for the Chiefs.

Mark McCall‘s Saracens also made it two from two as beat Bristol 44-23 at home on Saturday. 

London Irish v Exeter Chiefs - Aviva Premiership - Madejski Stadium Gareth Steenson has started the season well. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Former Ireland U19 Sevens cap Callum Sheedy impressed at out-half for the beaten Bristol – who count Conor McPhillips and John Muldoon as assistant coaches - while ex-Ireland U19 international Piers O’Conor had a good game at fullback.

Ireland international Ian Madigan came off the bench for Pat Lam’s team, as did ex-Ireland U20 lock Joe Joyce.

Harlequins lost away to Northampton on Friday night, with former Ireland underage international scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone used off the bench. 

There was positive news for Leicester Tigers and interim head coach Geordan Murphy on Saturday as notched an entertaining 49-33 win at home to Newcastle, for whom ex-Ireland U20 hooker George McGuigan started. 

Bath, who have an Irish attack coach in Girvan Dempsey, played out a 31-31 draw with Gloucester, whose director of rugby is David Humphreys.

Girvan Dempsey Girvan Dempsey is now with Bath as attack coach. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Worcester came up short away to Sale yesterday on a 21-15 scoreline, with former Ireland U20 captain Niall Annett starting at hooker and ex-Ulster prop Callum Black wearing the number one shirt.

Another former Ulster man, scrum-half Michael Heaney, made his Premiership debut as a replacement for Worcester, whose attack coach is Neil Doak.

Greene King IPA Championship

Cornish Pirates made it two wins out of two to start the season as they overcame Coventry at home yesterday, with ex-Connacht back Rory Parata and former Ulster man Callum Patterson continuing their promising midfield partnership.

Declan Kidney and Les Kiss’ London Irish laid down a marker of their promotion potential with a 52-20 victory at home to Nottingham on Saturday, ensuring a 100% start to the campaign.

Former Leinster tighthead Oisin Heffernan, ex-Munster back row Shane Buckley, and former Munster fullback Sean Scanlon were all in the Nottingham starting team. Ex-Munster prop Rory Burke and Irish-qualified wing Alex Goble came off the bench, with the latter scoring a late try.

Oisin Heffernan Oisin Heffernan was at tighthead for Nottingham. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Doncaster, with Willie Ryan at number eight, got their first win of the season at home to Hartpury College, who had ex-Ireland U20 loosehead Des Merrey among their replacements.

A Bedford team including former Leinster lock Mark Flanagan and loosehead Sean McCarthy got the better of a Jersey side that featured second row Jerry Sexton, try-scoring openside Conor Joyce and ex-Ulster centre Mark Best

Another former Ulster man, out-half Brett Herron, scored a try, two conversions and a penalty for Jersey in their defeat.

Former Stade Français fullback Peter Lydon and ex-Leinster loosehead Jack O’Connell started for promotion hopefuls Ealing as they won 36-31 away to London Scottish.

Former Ireland U20 wing Charlie Ingall continued a fine start to the season with two tries for the beaten London Scottish.

Ex-Ulster academy tighthead Craig Trenier started for Richmond in their defeat away to Yorkshire Carnegie yesterday.

Tyrrell’s Premier 15s

Ireland hooker Leah Lyons made her debut for Harlequins Ladies as they got their season up and running with a 38-24 win over Gloucester Hartpury.

Claire Molloy Claire Molloy scored two tries for Wasps. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Meanwhile, Ireland flanker Claire Molloy scored two tries on her debut for Wasps Ladies as they secured a 32-17 success against Bristol to open their campaign in style.

Guinness Pro14

Allen Clarke‘s Ospreys made it two wins from two with a bonus-point 46-14 success against the Cheetahs on Saturday, leaving the Welsh region top of Conference A.

Zebre, whose head coach is Michael Bradley, suffered a disappointing defeat in Galway against Connacht.

Bernard Jackman‘s Dragons enjoyed a much-needed win at home to the Southern Kings, lifting them to fourth position in Conference B.

Mitre 10 Cup

North Harbour, who are hosting Ireland U20s coach Noel McNamara on a three-month placement, were beaten away to Wellington, leaving them bottom of the Premiership Division.

National Rugby Championship

Eoin Toolan‘s Melbourne Rising came up just short away to Queensland Country, losing 29-28 in their second game of the season.  

- This article was updated at 6.25pm to include mention of Nottingham’s Alex Goble and at 6.36pm to correct ‘Perpignan’ to ‘Grenoble’ in the fourth paragraph.

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Murray Kinsella

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