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Heineken Champions Cup Pool 2 will be decided on Saturday when Munster Rugby and Exeter Chiefs clash in a crucial match at Thomond Park. The encounter in Limerick gets under way at 17:30 GMT and is live on Channel 4 and Virgin Media as well as BT Sport.
- This will be the second meeting between Munster and the Exeter Chiefs, following the 10-10 draw at Sandy Park in Round 1.
- A win for Munster will guarantee them a place in the quarter-finals for the 18the time, however, if Exeter upset the odds and finish the pool level on match points with the 2006 and 2008 champions, then they will advance to the knockout stage on the basis of the head-to-head matches between the clubs.
- Munster have won their last 11 home games in the tournament – Leicester Tigers’ 31-19 success in December 2015 was the last defeat at Thomond Park.
⚠ “It’s a straight shootout and that’s the way we are looking at it" ⚠
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 16, 2019
- Exeter have lost all three of their games in Europe’s top flight in Ireland, against Leinster twice and Ulster once.
- Tadhg Beirne (11) has won the most turnovers this season (level with Thomas Young of Wasps).
- Joey Carbery is the top points scorer this season with 59 points from three tries, 10 conversions and eight penalties.
- Only Cheslin Kolbe (39) of Toulouse has beaten more defenders than the Exeter Chiefs duo of Santiago Cordero (34) and Jack Nowell (23).
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) January 17, 2019
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Fly-half Joey Carbery kicked all nine points in Munster Rugby’s compelling victory over Exeter Chiefs to send the Limerick-based club into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals for the 18th time.
The 9-7 success at Thomond Park means the Irish province top Pool 2 and are the sole qualifiers from the group. They will be seeded either fourth or fifth depending on Sunday’s results.
The atmosphere inside the stadium was ferocious from the very start and it was Carbery who scored the first points of the evening with a successful penalty kick in the sixth minute.
Exeter Chiefs forced their way back into the contest to score the only try of the match with their trademark line-out maul, with back-rower Don Armand the scorer. Joe Simmonds made his conversion.
Ireland international Carbery then reduced the deficit to 7-6 before the break as Munster’s defence remained resolute, with Heineken Man of the Match Tadhg Beirne a stand-out performer.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) January 19, 2019
The second half was as gritty as the first, with both team’s displaying mammoth defensive efforts and ensuring nothing got through.
However, it was Carbery once again, a week on from his 26-point masterclass in Gloucester, who put his side into the lead, after calmly slotting his penalty kick in the 75th minute.
Exeter, now needing two scores to progress from the group, were unable to respond as Munster held on for a memorable victory.