LONDON Irish showed some encouraging signs in their opening pre-season game, narrowly falling to a 32-28 at two-time European Cup champions Munster on Friday night.

It was the Irish side who dominated the opening stages, only for Exiles to score against the run of play when Matt Williams latched on to a Fergus Mulchrone hack through to dot down. Greig Tonks added the extras and the visitors were 7-0 in front.

Munster hit back almost immediately, however, with wing Darren Sweetnam pouncing on a loose ball to cross in the corner for an unconverted score.

The hosts moved in front when prop Brian Scott barrelled over, and a JJ Hanrahan drop goal followed by a converted score from Dan Goggin made it 20-7 to Munster.

Exiles, though, battled bravely and cut the gap before the break when Ollie Hoskins touched down at the back of a rolling maul, Theo Brophy Clews adding the extras.

Both sides made many changes at the break, but it was Munster who drew first blood when Mike Sherry went over off the back of a maul, and his second realistically killed off the game with the hosts 32-14 to the good.

However, Irish showed their resolve and scored two converted tries, firstly through a brilliant individual effort from Topsy Ojo, and then when Scott Steele collected a Mulchrone inside ball to go over with the last play of the game.

London Irish visit Leicester Tigers on Friday (7.45pm).

  • BRACKNELL RFC were beaten 33-14 by CS Rugby in their pre-season friendly on Friday night.

The result followed the Lily Hill men’s participation in Ramfest the previous weekend, where they were edged out 19-14 by Esher before suffering a heavier 34-0 reverse against Rams.

Bracknell begin their South West Premier season at Newton Abbot on Saturday, September 1, before beginning their home campaign the following Saturday against Old Patesians.

The Lily Hill men will be hoping to build on their impressive second half to last season, when they lost only three of their last 13 games to finish in fifth, having looked under threat of relegation in the early stages of the campaign.