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Exeter Chiefs travel to Thomond Park with a five-point lead over Munster Rugby as the two sides’ enthralling Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 encounter moves onto the second leg on Saturday.
Munster will be leaning on their strong home record against English teams as they look to recover from their 13-8 first leg defeat at Sandy Park – the Irish province have won 26 of their 29 home matches against Premiership opponents.
Moreover, in their last three games with English teams at home, they have conceded seven or fewer points. Chiefs head to Limerick having won five of their last six knockout games, although they have lost all four of their away games in Ireland.
The second leg kicks off at 15:00 (UK & Irish time) and will be broadcast live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.
What a finish 🔥
Can @MunsterRugby come back again this Saturday? 👀#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/yLvxcR5sVr
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 14, 2022
Other key stats:
- Munster and Exeter have a balanced head-to-head record in the Heineken Champions Cup. Each team has one win and shares one draw; Munster has yet to score more than 10 points in a game against Exeter in Europe.
- Munster have lost their last two matches at home in the knockout stage of the Heineken Champions Cup after winning nine of their previous 10; one of those two losses came against English opposition (16-32 v Saracens in 2018).
- Munster have conceded 1.26 points per 22-entry in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, fewer than any other team; only Racing92 (5.3) have conceded fewer 22 entries per game.
- Munster’s Peter O’Mahony has claimed 31 lineouts in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, a joint-high alongside Lood de Jager; this includes six lineout steals, more than any other player.
- Munster duo Tadhg Beirne and John Hodnett have each won six jackal turnovers in the Heineken Champions Cup this season. No other player has won as many turnovers in that fashion.
- Exeter’s Sam Simmonds is the top try scorer in the Heineken Champions Cup this season(7); he has failed to score in just one game in the competition this season–against Munster last weekend.
- This season, Stuart Hogg (Exeter) has averaged 44 metres per kick in the Heineken Champions Cup, the most of any player to have made 10+ kicks in play.
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter: “At the end of the day, we have to be flat out. If we’re not flat out, I think Munster can expect to turn that over.”
Munster head coach Johann van Graan: “We’ve got to beat Exeter by six points at Thomond Park. We’ll go back and learn from this, and so will Exeter. Two clubs that respect each other.”
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Fly-half Joey Carbery tallied 21 points as Munster Rugby beat Exeter Chiefs 26-10 at Thomond Park on Saturday to book their place in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.
Carbery went over for a first-half try, which he converted along with Damian de Allende’s late score, and slotted four penalties over the course of a pulsating Round of 16 second leg.
Exeter battled hard and got over through Sam Maunder and Jacques Vermeulen but were unable to retain the five-point advantage they had built in the first leg as they went down 34-23 on aggregate.
Munster notched the first points of the game on six minutes as Carbery slotted his first penalty, but Exeter hit back with an opening try through Maunder.
That is world-class from Simon Zeebo 🤩@Munsterrugby work the ball out wide to their talisman keeping the width, who then finds Damian de Allende with an incredible back door offload ✨
Wonderful pass! 👏#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/v01AUd05yv
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 16, 2022
The scrum-half took a penalty quickly and squirmed over the line to ground, with opposite number Conor Murray sin binned for an offence in the build-up in a further blow for Munster.
But the hosts survived the period with 14 men in style, their robust defence holding firm after a second Carbery penalty moved them into the lead on the day.
Carbery then produced the cutting edge for Munster’s first try for the game, dummying brilliantly to slice through the Exeter defence and dot down on 26 minutes, converting his own score to move his side three points clear on aggregate.
Munster retained the advantage heading into the break as fly-half Joe Simmonds’ penalty effort for Exeter from close to halfway was off target, but the visitors started the second half excellently.
They marched up to the Munster line and No.8 Vermeulen eventually battered his way over on 49 minutes, handing Exeter a two-point lead on aggregate as Simmonds was unable to convert.
Full-time: @Munsterrugby 26-10 Exeter (34-23 agg)
Munster find enough to overhaul the deficit and come away with the win 💪
Quarter-finals calling for the Red Army 🏆#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/rELNevdV5e
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 16, 2022
Munster kept plugging away as a fascinating tussle edged past 59 minutes, Carbery kicking his third penalty of the game to put his side back in front on aggregate after good work from flanker Peter O’Mahony.
Carbery launched another penalty over the posts with a quarter of an hour play – his fourth successful effort of the day coming from just inside the Exeter half.
Munster would wrap up their victory on 74 minutes as the ball found its way to wing Simon Zebo, who beat his man superbly on the outside and offloaded back inside to centre de Allende, who planted down emphatically.
Carbery’s conversion moved the hosts 11 points clear on aggregate, and they held on to advance to the last eight.
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