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British & Irish Cup semi-finals preview

23 April 2013

  • All-Irish affair followed by Championship match-up
  • Semi-finals take place on April 26 and 27
Bedford Blues player in action

Photo: RFU Archive

Munster ‘A’ continue their defence of the British & Irish Cup with a home semi-final against fellow Irish province Leinster ‘A’ on Friday, April 26 at Garryowen FC, Dooradoyle, KO 7.30pm.

It took a try from winger Ronan O’Mahony deep into stoppage time against Cornish Pirates for Munster to set up the all-Irish tie and keep their interest in the competition alive. In winning 10 points to 9, Munster exacted revenge for their loss to the Pirates in the 2010 inaugural B&I Cup final.

Leinster had to call on all their reserves to see off Bristol at the Memorial Stadium and book their place in the last four.

Tries from Andrew Conway, Andrew Goodman, James Tracy and Fionn Carr in addition to 10 points from the boot of Noel Reid helped them to a 30-26 victory.

Munster won both Inter Province ‘A’ team games between the sides this season and beat their rivals 36-29 at the Royal Dublin Society Ground in last year’s semi-final.

The following day Bedford Blues take on Newcastle Falcons in an all-English affair at Goldington Road, KO 3pm.

Two tries from prolific Wasps-bound winger Josh Bassett inspired a Blues comeback in their quarter-final tie against Llanelli.

Early tries from Kristian Phillips and Nic Reynolds had seen the West Walians take control and a two-point lead into the interval.

But the Blues scored the first points of the second half through the boot of Jake Sharp and never looked back.

In addition to Bassett’s second try, Sharp went on to kick a total of 22 points in a 32-18 win that keeps the Blues on course to go one better than 2011 when they finished runners-up to Bristol.

To maintain their interest, though, they need to beat a Newcastle side that will be bristling with intent following their first defeat of the season.

Bidding to finish the season unbeaten in both league and cup, the Falcons concluded the regular Championship campaign with a disappointing 19-14 home reverse at the hands of Bristol.

The Falcons had won all 29 matches up to that point including a double over the Blues, who they have avoided in the RFU Championship semi-final draw.

A last-gasp try from debutant Noah Cato and a pressure kick from Jimmy Gopperth sealed a dramatic victory for Newcastle the last time the sides met at Kingston Park on March 8.

British & Irish Cup semi-finals
Leinster 'A' vs Munster 'A', Friday, April 26, KO 7.30pm
Bedford Blues vs Newcastle Falcons, Saturday, April 27, KO 3pm