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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 27 January 2021
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Jackman's Grenoble rampant, Flanagan's try and all the Irish exiles’ exploits

There were many Irish players in action in France and England over the weekend.

WHILE MOST IRISH eyes were on the pair of inter-provincial derbies on home soil last weekend, a number of Irish players were in action in England and France.

Top 14

It was a weekend to remember for Bernard Jackman‘s Grenoble in the Top 14, as they ran in five tries in a 42-17 hammering of Oyonnax, who face Ulster in the Champions Cup on Sunday.

Bernard Jackman Jackman's side had a morale-boosting win at home. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Former Ireland U20 centre Chris Farrell made his sixth start of the domestic season in Grenoble’s convincing victory, completing 80 minutes in the 13 shirt and setting up a try for Tino Nemani. Fellow Ireland underage international Denis Coulson played 10 minutes off the bench at loosehead, his eight Top 14 appearance of the campaign.

FCG remain 10th in the French league, but are now just eight points away from the play-off spots and sit 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Fullback Gio Aplon was in outstanding form in Mike Prendergast‘s backline.

Pau had an all ex-Munster back row during their 21-17 defeat away to Toulon as number eight James Coughlan was flanked by Paddy Butler and Sean Dougall. Pau drop to 12th but a creditable losing bonus point means they’re six points above the relegation spots.

Former Munster and Ulster prop Dave Ryan, now 29, made his sixth start of the season at tighthead for Agen as they went down 33-16 at home to Clermont. The Corkman will hope his side can enjoy a sharp upturn in form, as just two wins in 12 games have left them at the bottom of the table.

Racing 92 moved to the peak of the league with a 23-18 victory over Ian Madigan’s future employers, Bordeaux, and defence coach Ronan O’Gara will have been pleased they didn’t concede a try.

The Parisians have the most miserly defence in the Top 14 so far this season, having conceded 15 tries in their 12 fixtures so far.

Premiership

JJ Hanrahan kicked a penalty as Northampton secured an 8-3 win over Exeter on Friday night. The Kerryman started at out-half as few players stood out in a scrappy encounter and Hanrahan will now hope to retain his place for this weekend’s visit to Leicester.

Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs - Aviva Premiership - Franklin's Gardens Ian Whitten has been in good form for Exeter Chiefs. Source: PA WIRE

The Saints remain fifth in the Premiership, while Exeter stay in second despite their defeat. Gareth Steenson was in the 10 shirt for the Chiefs once again, kicking a penalty, while Ian Whitten made his ninth start of the campaign at 12.

Saturday saw David Humphreys‘ Gloucester secure a a 27-14 win over London Irish, with loosehead prop Paddy McAllister used as a replacement early in the second half.

35-year-old former Ireland prop Tom Court was at loosehead in London Irish’s starting XV for the ninth time this season.

George McGuigan, the 22-year-old who played for Ireland at U20 level, was at hooker again for Newcastle Falcons as their 19-14 win over Mike Bath’s lifted them off the foot of the table and above London Irish.

There was also a Premiership debut for Paddy Ryan, the 25-year-old brother of Agen prop Dave. A former Munster U20 and A cap, tighthead Ryan joined the Falcons from French Fédérale 1 outfit Libourne last summer.

The Cork man, who has also had spells with London Welsh and the Italian side Viadana, will now hope to feature more regularly for Newcastle after impressing in this 20-minute spell off the bench.

Mark McCall‘s Saracens remain in a healthy lead at the top of the table after their eighth win in eight league games so far this season, a bonus-point 26-6 success at home to Leicester.

Mark McCall Saracens have won every single one of their games this season. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Sale moved up to seventh with a 15-9 win at home against Wasps, 38-year-old Peter Stringer making an impact off the bench in the closing minutes. The ex-Ireland scrum-half appeared to have scored a try soon after coming on, but the effort was controversially ruled out by the TMO.

Conor O’Shea‘s Harlequins moved up to third position in the league with a 24-20 win on the road against Worcester. 24-year-old Niall Annett and former Munster lock Donncha O’Callaghan both started in the Warriors’ defeat.

Championship

Bristol strengthened their grip on the top of the Championship with a 16-10 win away to Nottingham on Saturday, as ex-Leinster loosehead Jack O’Connell and former Ireland U20 international Joe Joyce started. Having featured predominantly at lock this season, 21-year-old Joyce moved to the blindside flanker for this fixture.

Sam Coghlan Murray, once of Leinster, was on the wing for Nottingham, while Ulsterman Conor Carey started at tighthead for the 14th time this season. Leinster A-capped Ben Woods was in the 13 shirt, while ex-Ulster back Ricky Andrew made an appearance off the bench.

Doncaster remain second after a 17-17 draw in Jersey, their Irish halfback pairing of Michael Heaney and Declan Cusack continuing in the nine and ten shirts.

Former Ulster wing Ross Adair started for Jersey, while Mark McCrea was among the replacements for the home team.

Tries from fullback Sean Scanlon and wing Michael Keating couldn’t prevent defeat for the Rotherham Titans as they went down 38-21 to the Cornish Pirates on home soil.

Ex-Ulster back James McKinney was at out-half for the Titans, while both Michael Cromie and Ali Birch featured off the bench. Another Ulsterman, Kieran Hallett, was used as a substitute by the Pirates.

Danny Kenny 4/5/2013 Former UCD man Danny Kenny was in action for Ealing. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Danny Barnes, once of Munster, was at outside centre as Ealing Trailfinders lost 45-29 at home to Yorkshire Carnegie, his eighth start of the campaign. Ex-UCD back row Danny Kenny continued his return from injury off the bench, although the 27-year-old picked up a yellow card for a maul offence.

Friday night saw fourth-placed Bedford Blues secure a 31-19 win against the visiting London Scottish. Former Leinster and Mont-de-Marsan lock Mark Flanagan crossed for a try on his 13th start of the season, while ex-Stade Français man Peter Lydon scored a try and two conversions for the beaten side.

Former Lansdowne hooker Tyrone Moran made his second league appearance of the season off the bench for the London outfit, having racked up two starts in the British and Irish Cup.

Kevin Maggs‘ Moseley remain bottom of the league after a 32-8 defeat to London Welsh.

Pro12

25-year-old Michael Allen made his fourth start of the season for Edinburgh as they beat Glasgow 14-11 at Murrayfield to complete a season’s double over the reigning champions.

Allen featured mainly on the wing for Ulster before joining the Scots last summer but having recovered from a shoulder injury, the Emerging Ireland-capped back has now made all four of his starts in the 13 shirt.

Prop John Andress, also formerly of Ulster, was used off the bench by Edinburgh.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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