AN EXPERIMENTAL Munster side suffered a 38-29 defeat to Grenoble in an entertaining pre-season friendly played out before 4,178 spectators at Thomond Park on Friday night.
French Top 14 side Grenoble out-scored their hosts by six tries to five in the first of Munster’s three pre-season fixtures this season.
Munster head coach Anthony Foley handed senior debuts to nine players during the course of the open, free-flowing game. Munster led 19-14 at half-time with tries from captain Cathal Sheridan, Shane Buckley and impressive new centre Matt D’Arcy.
New Zealand out-half Tyler Bleyendaal impressed on his Munster debut which lasted 30 minutes as the former Junior World Championship winning captain was replaced by Rockwell College’s 2015 Senior Cup winner Bill Johnston due to a tight groin.
A pair of tries from Grenoble’s former Ireland U-20 player Denis Coulson turned the game in the French side’s favour. Grenoble’s need was perhaps the greater on the night as Bernard Jackman’s side begin their French Top 14 campaign next weekend.
Munster added two more tries in the second half through winger Darren Sweetnam and a second for Garryowen flanker Buckley as both sides emptied the replacements bench.
Munster face Connacht in their second pre-season friendly at Thomond Park on Friday next, 7.45pm.
SCORERS: Munster: Shane Buckley two tries, Cathal Sheridan, Matt Darcy, Darren Sweetnam try each, Tyler Bleyendaal two cons. Grenoble: Denis Coulson two tries, Laurent Bouchet, James Percival, Gio Aplon, Arnauld Heguy try each, Jonathan Wisniewski three cons. Christophe Loustalot con.
MUNSTER: David Johnston; Darren Sweetnam, Cian Bohane, Matt D’Arcy, Gerhard van den Heever; Tyler Bleyendaal, Cathal Sheridan (capt); John Ryan, Niall Scannell, BJ Botha, John Madigan, Dave Foley, Shane Buckley, Jordan Coghlan, Robin Copeland. Replacements used: Kevin O’Byrne, Peter McCabe, Rory Burke, Donncha O’Callaghan, Sean McCarthy, Ryan Foley, Bill Johnston, Diarmaid McCarthy, Conor Oliver, Steve McMahon.
GRENOBLE: Gabien Gengenbacher (Capt), Xavier Mignot, Fabrice Estenbanez, Nigel Hunt, Daniel Killoni, Jonathan Wisniewski, Charl McLeod, Fabien Barcella, Laurent Bouchet, Walter Desmaison, Benjamin Hand, James Percival, Jonathan Best, Mahamadadou Diaby, Rory Grice. Replacements used: Arnaud Heguy, Denis Coulson, Mathias Marie, Peter Kimlin, Christophe Loustalot, Clement Gelin, Christopher Farrell, Dayna Edwards, Fabien Alexandre, Jackson, Willison, Armand Batlle, Gio Aplon.
REFEREE: Gary Conway (IRFU)