Header2014 IRFC

1st XV win 66-0 at home to Sundays Well 1st XV


On Saturday 25 February Instonians welcomed Cork side Sundays Well to Shaws Bridge looking to maintain their unbeaten run at the top of AIL 2C. Sundays Well president Dairmuid Hallisey had been under the weather but still made the long journey to Belfast for the pre match lunch which had “Family” as its theme. It was top v bottom and Sundays Well had a few players missing from their regular line up against an Instonian side who had won 50-5 in Cork back in November so it looked like they might have a tough day at the office. It was dry overhead with just a slight wind so perfect conditions for running rugby.

14:32 – Instonians kicked off and immediately showed their intent to keep ball in hand and test the Sundays Well defence. Their ball retention and support play was first class as they ran through the phases and made Sundays Well make a lot of tackles. For their part Sundays Well defended very well as the ball was moved back and forth across the pitch.

14:35 – Instonians 7 – Sundays Well 0

Then from a ruck just inside the Sundays Well 10 metre line Rhys O’Donnell had his trademark show and go and raced into the clear before jinking, weaving and dummying his way to the try line. His grandfather Des O’Donnell had a saying for his mini rugby charges “4 v 3 might score, 3 on 2 should score but 2 on 1 must score”. He would have been pleased therefore when Rhys passed to his talented half back partner Ruari O’Farrell right on the line just to the right of the posts and Rhys looked content as he walked back to the half way line with a try assist to his name or so he thought. Behind his back however, Ruari was busy making his only blemish of the day as he ran round under the posts and had the ball dislodged by a tackle in the in goal area.

Sundays Well will have been delighted by the defender who did not give up and relieved that they had not conceded an early score and had a put in to the 5 metre scrum that resulted. Seconds later and the relief will have transferred to Ruari as the vaunted Instonian scrum shoved Sundays Well over their own line with the astute no 8 Mark Mairs controlling the ball well at the base before touching down. Jonathan Milliken added the extras.

Following a great take by the impressive Robert Whitten Instonians were penalised at the break down and Sundays Well chose to kick at goal from the Instonian 10 metre line in midfield. The kick was on target but just did not have enough legs.

14:45 – Instonians 7 – Sundays Well 0

Undeterred Sundays Well attacked again but a great jackal by Mark Mairs on the Instonian 22 was rewarded with a relieving penalty and Matthew Keane kicked to touch for a line out. The usual effective line out misfunctioned and Sundays Well attacked again. When they lost the ball forward in the tackle the dominant Instonian scrum won another scrum penalty. It was deja vue all over again however with another lost line out to the surprise of the home support.

As the sun came out and the slight wind was no more Instonians continued to run the ball from deep at every opportunity and it was just the final pass that prevented them from threatening the visitors try line.

Then in the space of a few minutes they lost 2 key players to injury. First of all influential no 8 Mark Mairs went off with what looked like a knee injury. Losing such a player is a blow but the strength of this Instonian squad was clear to see as the returning Andrew McGrath (who had been off sick the week before) entered the fray with all of his guile and AIL experience from his spells with Old Belvedere and Queens. Andrew and Mark were 2 of the 13 ex RBAI pupils in the match day squad of 20.

Moments later another Rhys O’Donnell show and go saw him break clear again around the Sundays Well 10 metre line but this time he was stopped by a high tackle from the Sundays Well no 8 who was given a yellow card for his troubles. Unfortunately for Instonians Rhys picked up an injury in landing and took no further part in the game. Rhys has been in tremendous form recently and Instonians will be hoping that the injury is not too serious. Again, however, the quality in the Instonian squad was shown as Matthew Keane moved from the wing into the 9 jersey which is his normal position and he is very good in the role and Zak Davidson came on to the wing.

14:58 – Instonians 14 – Sundays Well 0

From the penalty Instonians kicked to the corner on the left hand side of the pitch and this time the line out functioned as it has been for most of the season and the driving maul took play close to the line where following a couple of surges for the line prop Schalk Van Der Merve crashed over near the posts giving Jonathan Milliken an easy conversion.

15:03 – Instonians 21 – Sundays Well 0

Instonians then produced another great passage of play with great interlinking between forwards and backs which almost resulted in a super team try but Bevan Prinsloo was held up over the line resulting in a goal line drop out for the visitors.

It did not take long however for the next score when Sundays Well lost their own line out and prop Anton Lupari picked up the loose bouncing ball and sprinted in up the left touchline from 30 metres out with Jonathan Milliken adding a fine conversion.

15:10 – Instonians 26 – Sundays Well 0

Instonians continued to run the ball from everywhere and Bevan Prinsloo scorched up the right touchline and broke through two would be tacklers to run in from the half way line for what would have been the bonus point 4th try. The touch judge however brought him back for a foot in touch much to Bevan’s disappointment.

He was smiling a few minutes later however as following great hands from the backline with Mark Keane to the fore the every willing flanker Max Preston threw a great dummy to go over in the right hand corner and secure the bonus point. Jonathan Milliken hit the post with the conversion.

15:13 – Instonians 33 – Sundays Well 0

Then with the last play of the 1st half Instonians produced another sweeping attack from deep with Ruari O’Farrell orchestrating the attack before wing Matthew Kilpatrick showed great pace up the touchline before giving a lovely pass inside to the supporting Bevan Prinsloo and there was no flag to disallow this one as he went round under the posts to give Jonathan Milliken an easy conversion.

HALF TIME – Instonians 33 – Sundays Well 0

Instonians will have been keen to add to their try tally in the 2nd half but also to not concede if possible. Sundays Well will have been playing for pride, which they were showing plenty of, and wanting to get some points on the board to build some momentum for the key games coming up for them.

15:20 – Instonians 40 – Sundays Well 0

It was the worst possible start to the 2nd half for the visitors as from the kick off Instonians ran the ball back and Mark Keane made the initial break before releasing that man Bevan Prinsloo again to score a great try by sprinting away from the cover on the right and going round under the posts to leave Jonathan Milliken an easy conversion.

15:22 – Instonians 45 – Sundays Well 0

From the kick off Instonians ran the ball back again and Schalk Van Der Merwe showed good pace and great hands to pass inside to the supporting Robert Whitten who sprinted forward and gave a return pass to Schalk to score the most popular score of the day in the left hand corner. Jonathan Milliken missed the difficult conversion from the touchline.

To their credit Sundays Well came back strongly at Instonians and battered away at the Instonians line for a sustained period of play winning several penalties but the Instonian defence was resolute which will have pleased the coaching team no end.

15:43 – Instonians 52 – Sundays Well 0

Sundays Well put a lot of energy into this phase of the game and both sides were attacking each other and testing the respective defences which held up.

Then after another great sweeping move from deep it was that man Bevan Prinsloo again who was on hand to take the final pass and run in from the visitors 22 and go round under the posts giving Jonathan Milliken another conversion to add to his tally.

Despite the scoreline Sunday Well came back at Instonians again but Instonians defended well including a shuddering tackle in midfield from Schalk Van Der Merwe.

15:48 – Instonians 59 – Sundays Well 0

Instonians then attacked from deep again and this time Bevan Prinsloo on the half way line kicked the ball downfield into open space on the left touchline and Ruari O’Farrell picked up and ran in under the posts and this time grounded the ball and got the try his excellent all round performance deserved.

The scrums were now uncontested following injuries to the visitors which encouraged the free flowing nature of the game to continue. Instonains were showing great hands and a highlight was a superb dummy from Schalk Van Der Merwe who was clearly enjoying the chance to run with the ball as a previous great Instonian prop and popular former captain Gary Bell liked to do.

15:58 – Instonians 59 – Sundays Well 0

There was just time for 1 more try and Instonians 10th of the day when from a scrum on half way Mark Keane made a great half break and gave a lovely pass to Bevan Prinsloo to run in from the visitors 10 metre line and go round under the posts and with the last action of the game Jonathan Milliken added to his tally.

FULL TIME – Instonians 66 – Sundays Well 0

This was a comprehensive win from Instonians as they notched up their 14th win from 14 games and all with bonus points to reach a maximum 70 points. They will be concerned over the injuries to key players Rhys O’Donnell and Mark Mairs but will know the strength in depth they have in the squad to cope.

Sundays Well focus will remain on their final 4 games when they play teams closer to their position in the league. They have effectively 4 cup finals to try to win and we wish them luck with that.

The MOM today has to go to Bevan Prinsloo today for his 4 tries and his powerful display in attack and defence.

The mantra for this team has always been 1 game at a time and that has not changed. The only difference this time is that if Instonians win the next game then they will have won the league and be playing in AIL 2B next season. The place to be next week is Shaws Bridge where the visitors are an energised and focused Ballina who have moved out of the relegation play off spot following a comprehensive win over Bruff. Instonians have a great relationship with the Ballina club and look forward to welcoming them to Shaws Bridge next Saturday 4 March. See you there.