With just over two weeks until Munster Rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh Rugby, we take a look at some of the Irish province’s main men. Remember, you can watch the match live on Channel 4, Virgin Media, BT Sport and beIN SPORTS on March 30.
Munster’s talismanic captain will be crucial to the Irish province’s chances in the last eight. The 29-year-old featured in all their Heineken Champions Cup pool games, including the gritty 9-7 victory over Exeter Chiefs that secured an 18th European quarter-final, and if he is at his best, usually it means that Munster are as well. They will need to be to topple Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield.
With two Heineken Man of the Match performances to his name already this season, the Ireland forward has been a revelation in his maiden campaign with the Irish province. He impressed last year in Scarlets’ run to the semi-finals and has continued his fine form this time around with 59 carries and 63 tackles. With a terrific workrate and outstanding turnover ability, he could be the difference against Edinburgh.
Another player to join Munster this season, the 23-year-old fly-half has exploded onto the European stage. Having won the Champions Cup last season with Leinster Rugby, he racked up 68 points in the pool stages, including three tries in the two games against Gloucester Rugby, where he was Heineken Man of the Match both times. Carbery could light up the knockout rounds in the next two months.
With 174 metres from just 32 carries, the Ireland right wing has produced yet another consistent campaign for the two-time European Cup winners. Having tasted European success in 2008, Earls has since featured in numerous knockout matches and his experience could be pivotal in the latter stages of Munster’s clash with Edinburgh.
A crucial part of Munster’s effective scrummaging unit in attack and defence, the Ireland back-row forward totalled 183 metres, 94 tackles and 88 carries in the pool stages. Stander therefore shoulders a heavy workload and is a man head coach Johann van Graan will no doubt rely on if Munster are going to progress further in the Heineken Champions Cup.