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European Rugby’s most prolific quarter-finalist Munster Rugby will travel to face Pool 5 winners Edinburgh Rugby in their Heineken Champions Cup last eight clash at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
The Scottish side will have home advantage after topping Pool 5 with 23 points while Munster defeated Exeter Chiefs 9-7 in Round 6 to secure their spot in the quarter-finals. You can watch live free-to-air coverage from 12:45 GMT on Channel 4 and Virgin Media as well as BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.
Edinburgh Rugby: 1st, Pool 5, 23 points
Munster Rugby: 1st, Pool 2, 21 points
Edinburgh Rugby wins: 1
Munster Rugby wins: 3
Edinburgh Rugby: Jaco van der Walt (65), Blair Kinghorn, Chris Dean, Darcy Graham, James Johnstone and Stuart McInally (all 10)
Munster Rugby: Joey Carbery (68), JJ Hanrahan (20), Andrew Conway, CJ Stander and Rory Scannell (all 10)
🗨️ "The place is going to be absolutely bouncing!" 👏
Watch Stuart McInally's full player focus as he urges supporters to get behind the city on what is set to be a memorable day at BT Murrayfield: 📺https://t.co/1vttrUYozk
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) March 28, 2019
Richard Cockerill (Edinburgh): “I want to win on Saturday. We’re a good team, we’ll be well prepared and we’ll look forward to the challenge. I think this is Munster’s 18th quarter-final. This is our third, so history dictates that they should probably be favourites. They’ve got all the big-game experience.”
Rory Scannell (Munster): “We’ve just fallen short in the last two years, but a lot of the squad have got experience now and we have the ambition to go one step further. The weekend is obviously a big challenge and we are not taking Saturday lightly, but that is the ambition.”
- Edinburgh captain Stuart McInally returns at hooker and there are also recalls for lock Grant Gilchrist, wing Damien Hoyland and centre Chris Dean.
- Fly-half Joey Carbery has recovered from a hamstring injury, so is included in Munster’s strongest possible side. Jack O’Donoghue makes his first Heineken Champions Cup start of the season in the back row.
- Munster have won three of their four games against Edinburgh in the tournament (L1),however, their one defeat came the last time Edinburgh hosted the fixture in Round 1 of the 2013/14 season.
- Edinburgh have won 17 of their last 19 home games in European competition (L2), although their two defeats in that run both came in quarter-finals, albeit of the Challenge Cup – against La Rochelle in 2017 and Cardiff Blues in 2018.
- Munster have reached the knockout stage for a record 18th time, and they’ve progressed to the semi-finals in 13 of their previous 17 appearances.
- With Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors both reaching the last eight, two Scottish clubs have qualified for the knockout stage in the same season for the first time.
- Munster missed fewer tackles (107) than any other side in the pool stage this season, resulting in a competition-high tackle rate of 89%.
- Munster’s Tadhg Beirne won the most turnovers (13) in the pool stage, a category he topped while with Scarlets last season.
- Viliame Mata (115), an EPCR European Player of the Year nominee, was the only player to make 100+ carries in the pool stage this season, and he also made more metres (394) than any other forward.
- Munster’s Joey Carbery, another European Player of the Year contender, was the top points scorer in the pool stage with 68 thanks to three tries, 10 conversions and 11 penalty goals.
Match Centre - Preview - Lineups
Munster Rugby will play in a record 14th European Cup semi-final next month after defeating Edinburgh Rugby 17-13 in a thrilling Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final on Saturday at BT Murrayfield.
Two tries from 31-year-old wing Keith Earls proved to be the difference between the two sides in a last-eight clash that made for compulsive viewing in the Scottish capital.
The Irish province were penned inside their own 22 for the opening six minutes as Edinburgh went close on several occasions, but the visitors forced a crucial turnover, allowing fly-half Joey Carbery to clear up field.
Munster then went down to 14 men after Tadhg Beirne was sin-binned for an offence close to his own try line. However, they saw off that period of pressure and grabbed the opening try on 18 minutes. After winning a penalty from their own scrum, it was quickly taken by Earls, who zoomed past two Edinburgh defenders for a delightfully enterprising try. Carbery – who was replaced before half-time – slotted over the conversion.
Quality from Keith Earls! 👏
Quick thinking and quick feet gives Munster the opening score of the Champions Cup quarter-finals 🔥
Intelligence = 💯 pic.twitter.com/A1y2mmewpd
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 30, 2019
Edinburgh dominated the rest of the first half and hit back with a try of their own on 25 minutes. Huge drives from No.8 Viliame Mata and prop Pierre Schoeman forced gaps in the Munster line, which centre Chris Dean took full advantage of by powering over.
Munster then conceded another penalty inside their own 22 and this time the Scottish side took aim at the posts. Jaco van der Walt – who was flawless from the kicking tee – made no mistake.
Six minutes into the second half Munster were level after they lost possession while advantage was being played. Replacement fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal coolly slotted between the posts.
I N C R E D I B L E
Keith Earls crosses again! 😮
Superhuman skills to put Munster ahead late on! 🙌👏 pic.twitter.com/Moz3F084kU
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 30, 2019
Van der Walt added another three points after Edinburgh’s outstanding scrum won another penalty, but the Scottish side could not hold on to their advantage.
Earls again proved to be the match-winner for Munster. They showed brilliant fast hands to work the ball across the line and release the wing, who raced towards the corner and dived over the line to give the Irish province the lead. Bleyendaal again made no mistake from the tee.
In the final phases Edinburgh battled to score the match-winning try, but they knocked on under pressure as time elapsed.
Munster will play their 14th European Cup semi-final against Saracens at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on April 20.