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Team Named | Munster Side For Saracens Semi-Final

April 19, 2019 11:50 am By The Editor

Saracens v Munster kicks-off at 3pm on Saturday.

Saracens v Munster kicks-off at 3pm on Saturday.

Head Coach Johann van Graan has named the Munster side for Saturday’s record 14th Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens at the Ricoh Arena (3pm, live on BT Sport and beIN Sports).

There are 12 changes to the side that earned an impressive win away to Benetton in Italy last weekend as Mike Haley, Darren Sweetnam and Jack O’Donoghue keep their places.

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony leads the side on his 50th Champions Cup appearance. O’Mahony has started each of his 49 appearances in the competition to date, including all 23 of the province’s Champions Cup games over the last three seasons.

Haley starts at full-back with Andrew Conway and Sweetnam on either flank.

Rory Scannell and Chris Farrell form the centre partnership with Conor Murray and Tyler Bleyendaal in the half-backs.

Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan pack down in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne in the engine room.

O’Mahony, O’Donoghue and CJ Stander complete the starting XV.

Keith Earls misses out due to injury having failed to make it through this week’s training.

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

Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Arno Botha, Alby Mathewson, JJ Hanrahan, Dan Goggin.

Video | Munster’s Road To The Champions Cup Semi-Final

Video | Peter O’Mahony Champions Cup Player Profile

Next Home Game

Tickets are available for Munster’s vital Guinness PRO14 Interpro derby against Connacht at Thomond Park on Saturday, April 27 (7.35pm). Buy tickets here.

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Report | Munster Defeated By Saracens In Coventry

April 20, 2019 5:31 pm By Ronan Calvert

Members of the Munster team at full-time.

Members of the Munster team at full-time.

Munster exited the Champions Cup at the final four stage after a 32-16 loss to Saracens at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Two Tyler Bleyendaal penalties and a huge effort from Conor Murray saw Munster trail 12-9 at the interval with Owen Farrell landing four penalties of his own.

A second-half try from Michael Rhodes gave Saracens breathing room and although Darren Sweetnam struck back for Munster, Billy Vunipola’s late try saw Saracens progress to the final.

It was predicted that this was going to be a high-scoring encounter under the Coventry sunshine and with less than two minutes played, Saracens opened their account with a long-range penalty-kick from Farrell.

Five minutes later the out-half had another attempt at goal, this time a wayward drop-goal that Munster duly returned down-field from the restart. When the fit-again Mako Vunipola was found to have went off his feet just outside his 22, Tyler Bleyendaal was only too pleased to cancel out Sarries’ early lead, making it 3-3.

Munster were forced to defend gallantly in the action that was to follow with an outstanding CJ Stander turnover, an acrobatic Andrew Conway call for mark and some crushing Chris Farrell hits proving necessary to limit Saracens to just two further Farrell penalties come the half hour mark.

With 31 minutes on the clock, Munster began to gain the upper hand after some varied attacking play from Johann van Graan’s men. The visitors were beginning to make inroads into the Saracens 22 and, under the cosh, Maro Itoje was eventually pinged at the breakdown.

The influential Bleyendaal was again on hand to nail the penalty, leaving it at 9-6. One team was converting possession into points with far greater efficiency and when Conor Murray landed the next score with a monster penalty kick on 35 minutes that point was underlined even further.

Owen Farrell did, however, have the last say in the half with a penalty giving Saracens a narrow lead before the two sides headed for the changing rooms. With less than 40% possession and territory but just three points behind, Munster had enjoyed a physical and effective first half performance that crucially left them with a great chance in the 40 minutes that were to follow.

The second half didn’t get off to the start Munster would have hoped. Saracens retained possession impressively, going through multiple phases before stretching Munster out wide on the left flank. Prop forward Titi Lamositele was dragged down short of the chalk, but when a quick inside ball found unmarked flanker Rhodes, the South African was on hand to score the first try of the afternoon. Farrell converted to make it a daunting 22-9.

The London club extended their lead with another Farrell kick adding further height to the mountain Munster now needed to climb, 25-9.

Munster needed a quick reply and with that came a raft of substitutions. Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, JJ Hanrahan and Dan Goggin all joined proceedings and their presence was immediately felt. First, a fantastic touch finder from Hanrahan allowed Munster to organise a dangerous attacking maul.

The drive was brought to a halt by the Saracens pack, but from the resulting scrum Munster enjoyed the stroke of luck that they so greatly deserved for their endeavours. The ball squirted out just metres out from the try-line, Murray collected and almost identically to Earls’ try in the quarter-final, the backline moved the ball quickly into the hands of Sweetnam who accelerated around the outside to dot down in the corner. Hanrahan slotted an incredible conversation from the corner to make it 25-16 but Munster needed more.

Owen Farrell missed the chance to add another three to Saracens’ tally when a harsh penalty was awarded against Tadhg Beirne.

The next score was crucial and it went to Saracens as Vunipola stretched to score and Farrell’s conversion put the game beyond Munster’s reach.

Champions Cup Semi-Final Round-Up

Dave Kilcoyne limped off after 60 minutes and will be assessed by the medical team.

Peter O’Mahony made his 50th Champions Cup appearance.

Munster: Mike Haley (Dan Goggin, 51); Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam; Tyler Bleyendaal (JJ Hanrahan, 54), Conor Murray (Alby Mathewson, 74); Dave Kilcoyne (Jeremy Loughman, 60), Niall Scannell (Rhys Marshall, 67), John Ryan (Stephen Archer, 51); Jean Kleyn (Billy Holland, 60), Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue (Arno Botha, 67), CJ Stander.

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