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Team Named | Munster Side To Face Sharks

April 21, 2023 11:34 am By The Editor

Fineen Wycherley starts in the second row.

Fineen Wycherley starts in the second row. Inpho

The Munster side has been named for Saturday’s URC Round 18 clash against Sharks at King’s Park (5.15pm Irish time/6.15pm local – live on TG4 & Premier Sports).

Keith Earls is included among the replacements and is in line to become the 14th player to reach the 200-cap landmark for the province. Find out more about Earls’ career to date here.

There is one change to the side that beat Stormers last week as Fineen Wycherley replaces RG Snyman.

Greencore Munster Rugby Academy lock Edwin Edogbo comes into the squad in the replacements and is in line for his first appearance since November after recently returning from injury.

The backline is unchanged with Mike Haley at full-back as in-form wingers Calvin Nash and Shane Daly keep their places on either flank.

Malakai Fekitoa and Antoine Frisch start in the centres with a half-back pairing of Conor Murray and Jack Crowley.

Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron and Stephen Archer pack down in the front row with Archer starting on his 260th Munster appearance.

Jean Kleyn makes his 16th consecutive start in the second row alongside Wycherley.

Captain Peter O’Mahony, Alex Kendellen and Gavin Coombes complete the side.

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

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Shane Daly; Jack Crowley, Conor Murray; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Peter O’Mahony (C), Alex Kendellen, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, Keynan Knox, Edwin Edogbo, Jack O’Donoghue, Craig Casey, Ben Healy, Keith Earls.

Press Pass

Hear from Attack Coach Mike Prendergast and Peter O’Mahony ahead of the game.

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Report | Munster Secure 5th-Place After Sharks Draw

April 22, 2023 7:53 pm By The Editor

Malakai Fekitoa in action for Munster against Sharks.

Malakai Fekitoa in action for Munster against Sharks. Inpho

Munster came from 22-3 down to secure a vital 22-22 draw against Sharks on an extremely humid night in Durban to clinch fifth-place in the URC and guarantee a place in next season’s Champions Cup.

The draw sees Munster complete the two week tour to South Africa with a win and a draw against Stormers and Sharks to make it eight wins and a draw in our last 11 URC games.

Graham Rowntree’s side will face Glasgow Warriors in the quarter-final at Scotstoun on the weekend of May 5/6/7 with fixture details to be confirmed early next week.

The draw has denied Sharks of Champions Cup rugby next season unless they can win the URC with the South African side away to Leinster in the quarter-finals.

Sharks were dominant in the scrum and won penalties at the set-piece throughout the game, leading 19-3 after a first half they controlled.

A brilliant fightback from Munster after the break started with a penalty try as Calvin Nash and Conor Murray also touched down with Ben Healy kicking a conversion.

Graham Rowntree’s side nearly won it at the death but Gavin Coombes was held up over the line. It didn’t matter however as a draw or a win was enough to secure fifth-place.

Sharks made a fast start and a last-ditch tackle from Calvin Nash stopped Siya Kolisi scoring in the right corner after a Lukhanyo Am offload. Kolisi was injured in the tackle but Sharks’ first scrum penalty allowed Bosch kick to the corner. Bongi Mbonambi broke off from the maul to score despite Conor Murray’s tackle as Sharks led 5-0 after seven minutes.

Diarmuid Barron won a vital steal at the breakdown on 11 minutes with Jack Crowley kicking for the corner. The lineout to Peter O’Mahony was good but Sharks managed to win back possession in the maul and the chance was gone.

Munster attacked again and went through the phases in the Sharks 22 before Mbonambi took out Murray illegally and Crowley kicked Munster’s first points to make it 5-3 after 15 minutes.

Alex Kendellen won a penalty at the breakdown before Malakai Fekitoa looked to offload after making a half-break but the pass was too low and Stephen Archer couldn’t gather with the try-line gaping.

Referee Mike Adamson then penalised Munster when the scrum went down with Shane Daly yellow-carded on 28 minutes for taking out Bosch as he looked to collect a Garryowen.

Sharks kicked to the corner and Phepsi Buthelezi broke off the maul before Werner Kok took the ball on to score. It went to the TMO after a possible double-movement but the try was awarded and Bosch’s conversion made it 12-3.

Another Sharks scrum penalty gave the hosts an opportunity to kick into the Munster 22 and they took advantage once again as Mbonambi was stopped a yard short but the ball popped out for Sikhumbuzo Notshe to score the third Sharks try. Boeta Chamberlain kicked the conversion and Sharks deservedly led 19-3 at the interval.

Chamberlain kicked a penalty after the restart when Sharks earned another scrum penalty, making it 22-3 and leaving Munster with a mountain to climb.

Graham Rowntree’s side were back in it after a good period of pressure in the Sharks 22 ended with a penalty try on 48 minutes. Murray looked to put Shane Daly in down the blindside but Aphelele Fassi was well offside to stop the pass and the seven points went to Munster.

That made the score 22-10 and it was game on.

A scuffle at the restart ended with Munster having an attacking penalty reversed against them with Peter O’Mahony sin-binned.

Chamberlain kicked the ball dead as he looked for the five-metre lineout to leave Munster off the hook after their umpteenth scrum penalty.

Munster were in for their second try moments later when replacement Ben Healy found Calvin Nash on the right wing with a pinpoint crossfield kick. The winger chipped past Werner Kok before touching down after Chamberlain made a mess of gathering the loose ball.

Healy’s touchline conversion came back off the post but Munster now only trailed by seven points, 22-15.

Keith Earls came on for his landmark 200th Munster appearance on the hour and the comeback was complete after 65 minutes when Munster mauled to within a yard of the line and Murray was on the spot to dot down. Healy converted and the teams were level at 22-all with 15 minutes to go.

There was still time for plenty of twists and turns with Fineen Wycherley coming up with a huge lineout steal on a Sharks throw deep inside our 22 with four minutes to go.

Antoine Frisch kicked an outstanding 50/22 as Munster ended the game on the front foot but Coombes was held up over the line to deny Munster the victory but a draw was good enough.

 URC Round 18 Round-Up

The draw sees Munster finish fifth in the URC table and they will play Glasgow Warriors in the URC quarter-final on the weekend of May 5/6/7.

The result guarantees Champions Cup rugby for next season.

Keith Earls made his 200th Munster appearance.

Munster: Mike Haley (Keith Earls, 61) (Scott Buckley, 77); Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Shane Daly; Jack Crowley (Ben Healy, 53), Conor Murray (Craig Casey, 73); Jeremy Loughman (Josh Wycherley, 61), Diarmuid Barron (Scott Buckley, 69-73), Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn (Edwin Edogbo, 65), Fineen Wycherley; Peter O’Mahony (C), Alex Kendellen (Jack O’Donoghue, 61), Gavin Coombes.

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