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Team Named | Munster Side To Face ASM Clermont Auvergne

December 18, 2020 11:48 am By The Editor

Team Named | Munster Side To Face ASM Clermont Auvergne

Josh Wycherley is set for his first Champions Cup start ©INPHO

The Munster team has been named for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup game against ASM Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel Michelin (6.30pm French/5.30pm Irish).

Academy prop Josh Wycherley makes his first European start in one of three changes to the side. Wycherley takes the place of James Cronin who was ruled out after sustaining an injury in training.

Another change to the front row sees hooker Rhys Marshall start this week alongside tight-head prop Stephen Archer.

Last weekend’s Star of the Match Tadhg Beirne and Jean Kleyn continue in the second row, as do the trio of Gavin Coombes, captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in the back row.

Shane Daly makes his first provincial appearance of the season starting on the left wing with Keith Earls making the switch to the opposite flank as Mike Haley completes the back three.

Damian De Allende and Chris Farrell form the centre partnership with Conor Murray and JJ Hanrahan in the half-backs.

Head Coach Johann van Graan said: “It’s brilliant to be a part of the Champions Cup.

“With the Champions Cup comes massive games and Munster versus Clermont is a massive game.

“Playing Clermont in their own backyard in France is a great challenge and one that we’re looking forward to very much.

“It’s a brilliant opportunity for Josh on his first European start. He has performed well for us this season and he is more than ready for this opportunity.”​​

Find out all you need to know ahead of the game here.

The Munster A side to face Leinster A in Thomond Park this evening will be named later today.

Munster: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Josh Wycherley, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Gavin Coombes, Peter O’Mahony (c), CJ Stander.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Liam O’Connor, John Ryan, Fineen Wycherley, Billy Holland, Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Jack O’Donoghue.

Unavailable: Andrew Conway was unavailable for selection due to personal reasons.

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Match Report | Munster Secure Dramatic Comeback Victory In Clermont

December 19, 2020 7:31 pm By The Editor

Match Report | Munster Secure Dramatic Comeback Victory In Clermont

Munster celebrate after an incredible win ©INPHO

Munster secured a dramatic comeback victory with a 39-31 win over Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel-Michelin in France on Saturday night.

The hosts put in a strong first-half performance as tries from Aliverti Raka, Damian Penaud, Etienne Fourcade and a penalty try saw Clermont secure a bonus point after 25 minutes.

However, Munster fought back in the first half as a try from Mike Haley and 11 points from the boot of JJ Hanrahan left the score at 28-16 at half-time.

Munster continued their comeback in the second half as three penalties from Hanrahan brought it back to a three-point game. A Lopez penalty for the hosts made it a six-point margin before a CJ Stander try which was converted from the touchline by Hanrahan gave Munster a one-point lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.

With three minutes remaining, Munster won a scrum penalty and kicked to the corner. From the lineout, Jack O’Donoghue carried hard before Kevin O’Byrne dotted the ball down for Munster’s third try and the victory.

Clermont flew out of the traps with a try after 26 seconds. From the kick-off, a mix up in communication saw Munster fail to secure the ball. This led to a try from Aliverti Raka who received an offload from Peceli Yato.

Munster responded by winning a penalty as the hosts failed to roll away from a ruck. This allowed JJ Hanrahan to get his team off the mark with a well-taken penalty.

A mix-up from the resulting kick-off led to a prolonged period of possession from the hosts. As Clermont spread the ball wide, Shane Daly was penalised for a deliberate knock-on. Referee Matthew Carley awarded a penalty try to Clermont as Daly received a yellow card.

Munster responded once again as Hanrahan kicked another three points after Clermont infringed at a lineout to leave the score 14-6 to the hosts with less than 10 minutes on the clock.

Clermont were almost in for a third try but Star Of The Match CJ Stander did superbly to prevent Yato from grounding the ball after the hosts made a break down the short side.

Clermont won a penalty from the resulting 5m scrum which they kicked to the corner. The hosts made use of the man advantage by exploiting an overlap as Damian Penaud crossed in the corner. Camille Lopez was accurate from the tee to give his side a 21-6 lead after 15 minutes.

Some excellent interplay between Damian De Allende, Chris Farrell and Keith Earls brought Munster up the 5m line but the ball, unfortunately, went forward as Jean Kleyn attempted to ground the ball.

A high tackle on Tadhg Beirne soon after gave Hanrahan another opportunity to reduce the deficit and the Kerryman made no mistake as his penalty brought the score to 21-9 at the midway point of the first half.

An offside offence from Beirne allowed Clermont to kick to the corner and the French side powered over from a maul to secure the bonus point through Etienne Fourcade.

The frantic nature of the first half continued as Munster hit back with a try of their own as Gavin Coombes carried well off a lineout before Peter O’Mahony put Mike Haley away with a deft pass to get his side’s first try of the game. Hanrahan’s conversion reduced the deficit to 12 points with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Both sides had good opportunities for further points but the scoreline remained 28-16 to the hosts at half-time.

Munster continued their resurgence at the beginning of the second half as a turnover from Coombes got Johann van Graan’s side some territory before Clermont infringed at the lineout which allowed Hanrahan to kick another penalty to reduce the deficit to nine points.

A scrum penalty against the head was followed up by another penalty for Munster at an ensuing maul but Hanrahan’s attempt to kick the ball to the corner, unfortunately, went dead.

Hanrahan didn’t let that disappointment affect him as his tackle soon after led to a Clermont knock-on. From the resulting possession, Munster won another penalty which Hanrahan knocked over to reduce the deficit to six points.

A crooked throw on a Clermont lineout gave Munster a scrum on the hosts’ 22 but Haley’s offload didn’t go to hand just five metres out from the Clermont line. However, in the build-up, Judicael Cancoriet made a no arms challenge on Rhys Marshall which led to another penalty opportunity from Hanrahan and the Kerryman reduced the deficit to three points at the midway point of the second half. Cancoriet went to the bin for the challenge on Marshall.

Minutes later, Clermont restored their six-point cushion through the boot of Lopez.

With 10 minutes remaining, Thibaud Launen was sent to the bin after making contact with Beirne in the air.

From the ensuing maul, CJ Stander touched down for his side’s second try and Hanrahan’s conversion gave Munster a one-point lead with eight minutes left on the clock.

Munster weren’t finished there as a try from Kevin O’Byrne at the death ensured an incredible victory from a point where the visitors were 28-9 down at the midway point of the first half.

Champions Cup Round Two Round-Up

CJ Stander was awarded the Heineken Star Of The Match.

JJ Hanrahan was 100% from the tee, kicking 24 points for his side.

Munster were 28-9 points down after 25 minutes, and while being 19 points down they made their biggest ever comeback in a Champions Cup game, limiting Clermont to just three points for the remainder of the game

Before tonight’s match, Clermont Auvergne had won 31 of their last 32 home Champions Cup pool games.  This was the province’s first ever win at the famous fortress.

Academy prop Josh Wycherley and Shane Daly both made their first starts in European competition. Wycherley made his European debut in last weekend’s victory over Harlequins.

Munster rise to fourth position in Pool B of the Champions Cup.

Munster: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan (Scannell 79′), Conor Murray (Casey 63′); Josh Wycherley (O’Connor 77′), Rhys Marshall (O’Byrne 72′), Stephen Archer (Ryan 52′); Jean Kleyn (Wycherley 55′), Tadhg Beirne; Gavin Coombes (O’Donoghue 63′), Peter O’Mahony (c) (Holland 71′), CJ Stander. 

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