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Team Named | Munster Side To Face Ulster

December 30, 2022 11:53 am By The Editor

Kiran McDonald and Jean Kleyn start in the second row.

Kiran McDonald and Jean Kleyn start in the second row. Inpho

The Munster team to face Ulster has been named ahead of our first game of 2023 at the Kingspan Stadium on New Year’s Day (5.15pm, live on TG4).

Jack O’Donoghue captains Munster with six personnel changes and two positional switches to the side that faced Leinster on St Stephen’s Day.

Mike Haley, Malakai Fekitoa and Paddy Patterson come into the backline with Shane Daly moving from full-back to wing and Jack Crowley moving from inside centre to out-half.

In the pack, Kiran McDonald makes his first URC start for Munster as Roman Salanoa and Alex Kendellen also come into the starting XV. All three featured as replacements last week.

Haley returns from injury to start at full-back with Daly and Keith Earls completing the back three.

Fekitoa and Antoine Frisch start in the centres for the first time as Fekitoa makes his first appearance since the win over South Africa A last month.

Patterson and Crowley team up in the half-backs for the first time since the clash against Ulster at Thomond Park in October.

Salanoa joins Dave Kilcoyne and Niall Scannell in the front row with Jean Kleyn and McDonald starting together in the second row for the first time.

O’Donoghue, Kendellen and Gavin Coombes complete the starting XV.

Stephen Archer (ankle) and Jack O’Sullivan (knee) return from injuries sustained in October and are included among the replacements.

Scott Buckley is in line for his first appearance since October and Ben Healy is set for his first appearance since the South Africa A victory.

Greencore Munster Rugby Academy duo Cian Hurley and Patrick Campbell are also included. Hurley last featured against South Africa A with Campbell a try-scorer off the bench against Leinster last week.

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

Munster: Mike Haley; Shane Daly, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Keith Earls; Jack Crowley, Paddy Patterson; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Roman Salanoa; Jean Kleyn, Kiran McDonald; Jack O’Donoghue (C), Alex Kendellen, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, Stephen Archer, Cian Hurley, Jack O’Sullivan, Conor Murray, Ben Healy, Patrick Campbell.

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Report | Last-Gasp Munster Win In Belfast

January 1, 2023 7:45 pm By The Editor

Ben Healy celebrates with team-mates after the victory in Belfast.

Ben Healy celebrates with team-mates after the victory in Belfast. Inpho

Munster secured a vital 15-14 victory over Ulster in Belfast on New Year’s Day thanks to a last-gasp converted try from Ben Healy.

Graham Rowntree’s men trailed 14-5 with seven minutes to go but refused to give in and Healy’s penalty on 73 minutes and converted try in the last play secured a precious four points.

A poor first 30 minutes from Munster saw Ulster lead 9-0. The province dominated the final 10 minutes of the half but resolute Ulster defence meant it stayed 9-0 at the break.

Paddy Patterson darted down the blindside to make it 9-5 but Ulster looked to have secured the win when Robert Baloucoune dived over in the right corner after 67 minutes.

Crucially, Nathan Doak’s conversion attempt drifted just wide and Munster again dominated the final 10 minutes of the second half.

Excellent game management saw Healy kick a penalty on 73 minutes as Munster opted to take the points rather than go for the corner.

And then a break from Player of the Match Jack Crowley gave Munster one last chance in the 22 and Healy dived over from close range in the final seconds to out Munster in front for the first time.

Munster still trailed by a point but Healy made no mistake with the conversion to complete the comeback.

Munster were having trouble in the lineout early on with Ulster in control of the opening quarter.

John Cooney kicked three penalties between 15 and 24 minutes as Munster indiscipline was punished.

There was a lengthy stoppage on the half hour as Ulster’s Marty Moore was stretchered off with a leg injury and we wish him a speedy recovery.

When the game resumed, Munster won the scrum penalty and Crowley kicked Munster into the 22 for the first time.

The lineout was good and Ulster were pined in the maul with Crowley kicking Munster to the five-metre line.

Two further Ulster infringements gave Munster a five-metre tap and go with Tom Stewart sin-binned for an offside with Munster opting for a five-metre scrum.

The Ulster defence was resolute and they eventually won a penalty for a neck roll.

Despite that setback, Munster kept up the pressure in the second half. Antoine Frisch put Gavin Coombes through a gap and he looked to chip down the right wing for Keith Earls but the Ulster defence got back.

Munster’s dominance was rewarded when Paddy Patterson sniped down the blindside to score on 44 minutes. Three defenders were required to take Malakai Fekitoa with Patterson razor sharp to spot the gap and score.

Crowley’s tricky conversion hit the post and the Ulster lead was down to four points.

Jean Kleyn and Jack O’Donoghue were getting their own back on the Ulster lineout as they spoiled a number of opportunities for the hosts.

Full-back Mike Haley was at his elusive best and the Munster backline was rejigged on 53 minutes as Healy replaced Fekitoa and went to out-half with Crowley moving to inside centre.

Munster were starting to click but Ulster continued to defend well and scored the next try on 67 minutes.

McCloskey was the provider as he threw a long pass wide for Baloucoune to finish expertly in the right corner. Nathan Doak’s conversion was just wide but Ulster led 14-5 with 11 minutes left.

Munster refused to give in and Healy floated a pass to release Haley up the right wing. Good attacking play forced Ulster to cough up a penalty and Healy’s kick made it 14-8 with six minutes left.

Ulster looked to steady the ship but Crowley danced through a number of defenders in open play to get Munster back on the front foot.

With the clock ticking, Munster needed to show composure with Alex Kendellen and Stephen Archer among the players to make important carries before Healy lunged over for the crucial score.

URC Round 11 Round-Up

Jack Crowley was named Player of the Match.

Kiran McDonald played 80 minutes on his first URC start for Munster.

Malakai Fekitoa and Antoine Frisch started in the centres together for the first time.

Stephen Archer (ankle) returned from injury for his first appearance since October.

Scott Buckley made his first appearance since October and Ben Healy played for the first time since the South Africa A victory in November.

Munster: Mike Haley; Shane Daly, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa (Ben Healy, 53), Keith Earls (Patrick Campbell, 63); Jack Crowley, Paddy Patterson (Conor Murray, 56); Dave Kilcoyne (blood, Josh Wycherley, 38-40 & 65), Niall Scannell (Scott Buckley, 69), Roman Salanoa (Stephen Archer, 69); Jean Kleyn, Kiran McDonald; Jack O’Donoghue (C), Alex Kendellen, Gavin Coombes.

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