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Team Announcement | Munster v Exeter Chiefs

August 23, 2018 12:47 pm By The Editor

Mike Haley makes his first start for Munster against Exeter Chiefs on Friday night.

Mike Haley makes his first start for Munster against Exeter Chiefs on Friday night.

The Munster team to face Exeter Chiefs at Irish Independent Park on Friday night in the Kearys Renault Series 2018 has been named by Head Coach Johann van Graan.

There are six changes to the starting XV that beat London Irish last week.

Billy Holland captains the side, Mike Haley comes in to make his first start at full-back and fellow new signing Arno Botha is among the replacements in the 31-man squad.

Darren Sweetnam, a try-scorer in last week’s win over London Irish, and Calvin Nash keep their places on the flanks.

Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin, who also touched down against London Irish, resume their centre partnership with Bill Johnston coming in at out-half to join James Hart in the half-backs.

Mike Sherry is promoted to the starting spot at hooker after scoring two tries off the bench last week with Dave Kilcoyne and Brian Scott, another try-scorer last week, completing the front row.

Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland both come in to start with the back row of Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell and Academy man Gavin Coombes unchanged.

There are four Academy players among the replacements – Sean O’Connor, Jack Daly, Shane Daly and Liam Coombes.

Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Cronan Gleeson and Ciaran Parker provide the front row back-up.

Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea, Arno Botha, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Ian Keatley, Sammy Arnold and Stephen Fitzgerald complete the squad.

Read our match preview here.

Munster: Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Calvin Nash; Bill Johnston, James Hart; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, Brian Scott; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (C); Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements from: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Cronan Gleeson, Ciaran Parker, Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea, Sean O’Connor, Jack Daly, Arno Botha, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Ian Keatley, Shane Daly, Sammy Arnold, Liam Coombes, Stephen Fitzgerald.

2018 Kearys Renault Series Fixture

Friday, August 24

Munster v Exeter Chiefs, Irish Independent Park, 7.30pm;


Buy tickets online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 061 421103.

Adult: €15

Junior: €5*

Family – 2 adults and 2 juniors: €30

*Junior tickets can only be purchased with an adult ticket.

Student tickets are available for the same price as Junior tickets and can only be purchased in person at our ticket offices. You will need a valid student ID card at time of purchase and to enter the ground on matchday.

Video | Introducing Joey Carbery

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Match Report | Munster 0-12 Exeter Chiefs

August 24, 2018 9:17 pm By The Editor

Calvin Nash on the attack against Exeter with Bill Johnston in support.

Calvin Nash on the attack against Exeter with Bill Johnston in support.

A strong Exeter Chiefs side overcame Munster at Irish Independent Park in the Kearys Renault Series 2018 on Friday night.

Next up for Munster is the Guinness PRO14 opener against Cheetahs at Thomond Park next Saturday at 5.15pm. Buy tickets here.

Exeter led 12-0 at half-time thanks to Olly Woodburn and Harry Williams tries with 13 members of the squad beaten by Saracens in last year’s Premiership final featuring for the Devon side.

The second half was scoreless with Munster in the ascendancy but unable to breach the impressive Exeter defence.

Munster fielded 30 players in the game with five Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players involved – Gavin Coombes, Jack Daly, Sean O’Connor, Liam Coombes and Shane Daly.

After a very strong start from the visitors, it was no surprise when they took the lead after nine minutes. While they were enjoying dominance in the scrum, it was a snaffled Munster lineout in the right corner that set up the score with the Chiefs swinging the ball left to allow Woodburn score in the left corner.

Exeter kept up the early pressure and Williams dived over from close range in the left corner after a slick attack to double the advantage. In the same spot as his missed conversion moments previously, Gareth Steenson knocked over the extras and Exeter led 12-0 after 21 minutes.

Munster fought back with Dave O’Callaghan prominent and good hands from Billy Holland nearly set Darren Sweetnam away down the right wing but the Exeter cover defence stood firm.

Neither side had much of an opportunity to score for the remainder of the half and the Chiefs deservedly led at the interval.

Munster were much improved in attack after the break and had an extended period of pressure deep inside the Exeter 22 in the early stages of the second half.

Having forced a number of scrum penalties, the hosts were poised to hit back but Exeter managed to withstand the pressure.

Excellent work from JJ Hanrahan just before the hour nearly led to a Munster try as the replacement out-half sliced through a gap and whipped a pass left to Sammy Arnold. The centre’s pass outside to Liam Coombes looked to have set the winger clear to score but the recovering defence raced back to prevent the score.

A clever Hanrahan chip in behind the Exeter defence then looked certain to set up a score but the bouncing ball somehow evaded Sweetnam.

Munster kept pressing for the elusive score that wouldn’t come and Exeter managed to see out the remainder to record the victory.

Kearys Renault Series 2018 Round-Up

  • Tommy O’Donnell was withdrawn for a HIA in the first half.
  • Arno Botha made his first appearance for Munster off the bench with Mike Haley making his first start.
  • Five Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players were involved – Gavin Coombes, Jack Daly, Sean O’Connor, Liam Coombes and Shane Daly.
  • Munster and Exeter Chiefs will meet again in the Champions Cup this season with tickets to the Thomond Park clash in January here.

Opening Guinness PRO14 Fixtures

Saturday, September 1

Munster v Cheetahs, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here.


Exeter Chiefs

Tries: Olly Woodburn and Harry Williams

Conversion: Gareth Steenson

Munster: Mike Haley (Stephen Fitzgerald, 60); Darren Sweetnam (Ian Keatley, 74), Dan Goggin (Sammy Arnold, 60), Rory Scannell (Shane Daly, 44), Calvin Nash (Liam Coombes, 57); Bill Johnston (JJ Hanrahan, 44), James Hart (Neil Cronin, h-t); Dave Kilcoyne (Jeremy Loughman, 57), Mike Sherry (Kevin O’Byrne, 44), Brian Scott (Ciaran Parker, 32-70); Jean Kleyn (Fineen Wycherley, 44), Billy Holland (C) (Darren O’Shea, 57); Dave O’Callaghan (Sean O’Connor, 63), Tommy O’Donnell (inj Jack Daly, 18) (Gavin Coombes, 70), Gavin Coombes (Arno Botha, 32).

Unused replacement: Cronan Gleeson.

Exeter Chiefs: Phil Dollman; Santiago Cordero, Ian Whitten, Ollie Devoto, Olly Woodburn; Gareth Steenson, Nic White; Alec Hepburn, Jack Yeandle (C), Harry Williams; Ollie Atkins, Sam Skinner; Don Armand, Matt Kvesic, Sam Simmonds.

Replacements from: Moray Low, Jack Innard, Elvis Taione, Alfie Petch, Tomas Francis, Toby Salmon, Sean Lonsdale, Tom Lawday, Stu Townsend, Jack Maunder, Joe Simmonds, Henry Slade, Tom Hendrickson, Tom O’Flaherty, Max Bodilly.