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Madigan slots penalty for Bristol and 20-year-old Scannell debuts in Biarritz

There were plenty of Irish players involved in England, France, Italy, and the US over the weekend.

FORMER LEINSTER AND Ireland out-half Ian Madigan kicked a penalty for Bristol Bears in the last act of a 20-14 win over Northampton yesterday that leaves Pat Lam’s side fourth in the Gallagher Premiership.

30-year-old Madigan was making just his second Premiership appearance of the season off the bench for Bristol, having fallen behind Callum Sheedy in the out-half pecking order under director of rugby coach Lam, formerly of Connacht.


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30-times capped Madigan has started only four games for Bristol in this campaign, all of them coming in the Premiership Cup and Challenge Cup.

With the playmaker’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, it has been expected that Madigan will move on from Bristol, but he will have enjoyed coming off the bench to slot three points against Northampton yesterday.

Former Ireland U20s lock Joe Joyce was also among the replacements for Lam’s side.

On Friday evening, Exeter Chiefs beat Gloucester 26-15 away from home to ensure they now have a four-point lead at the top of the Premiership. 35-year-old Irish out-half Gareth Steenson kicked 16 points off the tee, while former Ulster back Ian Whitten started at outside centre.

Declan Kidney’s London Irish had a big win on the road too, beating Harlequins 29-15. Former Ireland U20s scrum-half Niall Saunders, who is still only 22, made his second Premiership appearance of the season off the bench for Quins.

Noel Reid came off the bench to kick a conversion and a penalty for Geordan Murphy‘s Leicester Tigers as they recorded an 18-9 victory over Wasps on Saturday. 29-year-old Reid moved to Leicester from Leinster last summer and has made 17 appearances in all competitions so far, including six starts at out-half and five at inside centre.

leicester-tigers-v-saracens-gallagher-premiership-welford-road Ireland-capped Noel Reid is now with Leicester. Source: Mike Egerton

Meanwhile, former Ulster scrum-half Michael Heaney was on the bench for Worcester in their 22-21 defeat at home to Bath. 

In the Championship, ex-Ireland U20 international Brett Connon was at out-half and kicked four conversions as Newcastle maintained their push for promotion back into the Premiership by making it 13 wins from 13 with a 40-7 success against Cornish Pirates. George McGuigan, who also won caps for the Ireland U20s, was at hooker. 

Former Ireland U20 wing Alex O’Meara was in the Pirates’ number 14 shirt, ex-Connacht man Rory Parata partnered former Ulster centre Callum Patterson in midfield, while 21-year-old Kildare man Paddy Ryan came off the bench. Back row Ryan joined the Pirates in December after a spell in Northampton’s academy.

Second-placed Ealing Trailfinders beat Bedford 38-5 on Saturday, with Kilkenny College product Peter Lydon at fullback and former Munster man Shane Buckley coming off the bench. Scrum-half James Lennon - who is Irish-qualified and previously had a stint with Munster – started for Bedford.

Former Ireland U18 back James Newey started on the right wing and ex-Ireland U20s back row Conor Joyce was on the bench for Jersey Reds as they suffered a 38-10 defeat away to Doncaster Knights, while former Ireland U19 flanker Joe Bercis helped Ampthill to a 13-5 victory over London Scottish.

On Friday evening, Nottingham enjoyed a 33-26 win over Hartpury College, with ex-Munster fullback Sean Scanlon - who recently signed a new two-year deal as player/coach - and former Leinster tighthead Oisin Heffernan among the try-scorers.

Ex-Connacht out-half Shane O’Leary, now a Canadian international, kicked three conversions and a penalty, while back row Jordan Coghlan - on loan from Leicester – was among the replacements for Nottingham.

ian-nagle-after-the-game Ian Nagle is playing with Zebre in Italy. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

In the Pro14, former Leinster locks Ian Nagle and Mick Kearney started in the second row as Michael Bradley‘s Zebre lost 56-24 on the road to Glasgow Warriors, while Jerry Sexton was at lock in the Southern Kings team that was hammered 68-3 by Munster.

Ex-Ireland international Donnacha Ryan was in the second row for Racing 92 yesterday as they notched a dramatic 30-27 victory over Toulouse in the Top 14. The 36-year-old remains an important figure at Racing and has started 16 games this season.

Former Ireland and Ulster centre Stuart Olding captained Jeremy Davidson‘s Brive as they lost 34-17 away to Toulon on Saturday. 

In the Pro D2, 20-year-old hooker Billy Scannell made his senior debut off the bench for Biarritz in their 27-24 win away to Vannes. Ex-Ireland U20 international Scannell, the younger brother of Munster duo Niall and Rory, moved to the French club last summer.

Former Munster man Dave O’Callaghan was in Biarritz’s number seven shirt, his 16th start of the season, as they moved up to fifth in the table.

Ex-Munster academy man Steve McMahon was at fullback as Carcassonne recorded an exciting 37-35 win at home to Mont-de-Marsan, while former Shannon lock Frank Bradshaw Ryan came off the bench as Nevers lost 39-34 away to league leaders Colomiers.


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billy-scannell Former Munster sub-academy hooker Billy Scannell made his Biarritz debut. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

One-time Ireland international Jamie Hagan was at tighthead prop for Béziers in their 16-12 victory at home to Aurillac, his 19th appearance of the Pro D2 season.

In Super Rugby, former Connacht prop Conán O’Donnell made his debut off the bench for the Highlanders, playing the closing minutes of the Kiwi franchise’s dramatic 23-22 win over the Brumbies. The 23-year-old Sligo man has joined the Highlanders on a short-term deal as injury cover. 

His fellow Irish prop, 24-year-old Oli Jager, was unfortunate to suffer an injury early on in his third consecutive Super Rugby start for the Crusaders at tighthead, the blow forcing him off inside the opening 10 minutes as his team went on to beat the Blues 25-8.

In Major League Rugby, Greg McWilliams’ Rugby United New York got their first win of the season in round two, with former Leinster out-half Cathal Marsh scoring a try and five conversions in a 49-31 victory over Austin.

Captain Dylan Fawsitt, a Wexford native and now a US international, dotted down too, while ex-Connacht scrum-half Marcus Walsh and former Lansdowne wing Mark O’Keeffe were also in the RUNY starting team.

Kilkenny College alumnus Ross Deacon was at number eight and former Munster underage prop Cronan Gleeson was on the bench for Rugby ATL as they made it two wins from two so far, beating NOLA Gold 22-10.

cathal-marsh Former Leinster man Cathal Marsh was in good form for RUNY. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Ex-Ulster back David Busby started on the wing for the Seattle Seawolves in a 28-22 defeat away to Old Glory DC.

Former Ireland U20s tighthead Charlie Connolly was among the replacements for Houston SaberCats in a 27-22 loss against the Toronto Arrows.

Ex-Munster academy scrum-half John Poland and former Leinster academy hooker Sean McNulty both started for the New England Free Jacks in a 39-33 defeat against Utah Warriors, while one-time Connacht academy lock Conor Kindergan came off the bench.

Former Ireland U20 international and Munster academy out-half Tomás Quinlan kicked two conversions and a penalty for the Colorado Raptors as they lost to San Diego Legion on a 49-22 scoreline, with former Munster underage prop and current USA international Paul Mullen at tighthead in the winning team as former UCC lock Ben Mitchell came off the bench. 

- This article was updated at 5.33pm to correct an error stating that David Busby had place-kicked for Seattle.

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Murray Kinsella

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