FOLLOWING EACH BRUISING weekend of rugby we cast an eye over our pro players earning a crust beyond these shores. Mr Kidney, you’re welcome….
Irish performance of the sixth round of matches came from Dungannon out-half Gareth Steenson as he landed 15 points in Exeter Chiefs stunning 42-28 win over Conor O’Shea‘s Harlequins side. Featuring big guns Nick Evans and Chris Robshaw, ‘Quins were outgunned by Chiefs, who face Leinster in the Heineken Cup on Saturday, and Ian Whitten on the wing.
Tony Buckley and Cillian Willis were both in the starting line-up for Sale Sharks in their 20-8 defeat by Leicester. The Tigers, featuring Niall Morris at full-back, trailed 8-6 at the break before they staged a successful comeback to move up to third.
Shane Monahan started on the right wing again for Gloucester in their Freddie Burns-inspired 16-10 win over Bath. Ryan Caldwell is still a couple of weeks short of a comeback for Bath.
John Andress was in the front row for Worcester Warriors in their 10-6 loss to London Wasps while Saracens, coached by Mark McCall, beat London Welsh 28-23 and are now in fourth place.
Tomás O’Leary and Ian Humphreys were once again the half-back pairing for London Irish as they thrashed league leaders Northampton Saints. Steve Shingler contributed 16 points but one of the match highlights was a Humphreys drop goal from near the halfway line.
In the English Championship, Brendan Burke featured in the Bedford Blues backline during their emphatic 55-17 win over a Plymouth Albion side that started Ruairi Cushion at scrum-half.
Brendan O’Brien wore the number nine jersey for Jersey in their 48-16 defeat by Nottingham. Jersey’s squad is well sprinkled with Irish players as Eoghan Nihill and James Gethings are also on the club’s books.
London Scottish out-half Kieran Hallet kicked nine points in his team’s 25-24 win over the Cornish Pirates. Former Ulster prop Jerry Cronin was a second-half sub in his side’s 42-7 thumping against Leeds Carnegie.
Rotherham Titans, with Eamonn Sheridan, Shane Cahill and James Kilbane in the match-day 22, won out 23-16 over a Bristol side that started David McIlwaine at full-back.
Robin Copeland was on the losing side for the second week running with Cardiff Blues in the PRO12. He came on as a replacement flanker in the Blues 18-3 defeat to Glasgow Warriors.
Over in the French Second Division, Stade Aurillacois, coached by former Ulster and Ireland lock Jeremy Davidson and featuring Denis Fogarty, beat Brive 27-20 and are fourth in the league.
Finally, never let it be said (twice) that TheScore.ie cares not a jot for the fantastic efforts being put in by all involved at Grenoble in the Top 14. The side, who have former Leinster hooker Bernard Jackman (see above) onboard as defensive coach, recorded their fourth consecutive home win on Saturday when they defeated Perpignan 28-23.