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Munster Rugby backs Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway both return from injury to line-up against RC Toulon in their European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final at Thomond Park, live on Sky Sports.
This will be the fourth match between the clubs. Both won their home games in the 2010/11 pool stage while Toulon were victorious in the 2014 semi-final in Marseille.
Munster have won 70 of their previous 75 home fixtures in the European Cup. ASM Clermont Auvergne are the only
TOP 14 club to win at Thomond Park in that time (Round 3, 2015/16).
Toulon have won eight of their nine meetings with Irish provinces, only losing to Munster in the 2010/11 season.
“This is what you play rugby for, you want to be part of these games.”@IanKeatley looks ahead to the big one against Toulon tomorrow with the out-half having scored 61 points in six Champions Cup games so far this season. #MUNvRCT #SUAF pic.twitter.com/A94W0lfx55
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) March 30, 2018
The three-time champions have lost five of their last six away games, only managing to beat Benetton Rugby during that run (30-29).
Munster made the fewest metres per match (324) of any side in the pool stage, while Toulon averaged the most (479).
Toulon also beat the most defenders of any team in the pool stage (155) with Josua Tuisova (23) and Facundo Isa (19) both featuring among the top 10 individual players.
Munster Rugby line-up
15. Simon Zebo; 14. Andrew Conway, 13. Sam Arnold, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Alex Wootton; 10. Ian Keatley, 9. Conor Murray; 1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Rhys Marshall, 3. Stephen Archer, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Billy Holland, 6. Peter O’Mahony, 7. Jack O’Donoghue, 8. CJ Stander
16. Niall Scannell, 17. James Cronin, 18. John Ryan, 19. Gerbrandt Grobler, 20. Robin Copeland, 21. James Hart, 22. JJ Hanrahan, 23. Darren Sweetnam
RC Toulon line-up
15. Chris Ashton; 14. Josua Tuisova, 13. Mathieu Bastareaud, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 11. Semi Radradra; 10. Francois Trinh-Duc, 9. Eric Escande; 1. Florian Fresia, 2. Guilhem Guirado, 3. Marcel Van Der Merwe, 4. Juandre Kruger, 5. Dave Attwood, 6. Raphael Lakafia, 7. Facundo Isa, 8. Duane Vermeulen
16. Anthony Etrillard, 17. Xavier Chiocci, 18. Emerick Setiano, 19. Romain Taofifenua, 20. Anthony Belleau, 21. Malakai Fekitoa, 22. Alby Mathewson, 23. Samu Manoa
Match Centre - Preview - Lineups
Two-times European Rugby Champions Cup winners Munster Rugby edged a nail-biting 20-19 triumph over RC Toulon in a titanic continental tussle in front of a partisan Thomond Park faithful on Saturday.
- Andrew Conway clinched the definitive score in the dying embers of the match as Munster Rugby set up a final-four showdown with ASM Clermont Auvergne or Racing 92, after a historic victory over three-times winners Toulon.
- In a ferocious opening 10 minutes, Toulon dominated territory and possession, but only had a penalty kick from Anthony Belleau to show for their efforts.
- 21-year-old Belleau – preferred to the experienced head of Francois Trinh-Duc – doubled the Toulon advantage in an assured show of composure as he slotted a drop-goal off his left foot after a disciplined French pack paved a strong platform.
- Munster’s riposte came against the run of play as Conor Murray offered a typically audacious piece of ingenuity as he picked Guilhem Guirado’s pocket on the Toulon line to dot down a score under the watchful eye of Nigel Owens and Ian Keatley’s conversion saw the hosts take a one-point lead in Limerick, must to the delight of a raucous capacity crowd at Thomond Park.
- When Semi Radradra was deemed to have impeded Darren Sweetnam’s chase and Keatley added a second penalty to nudge the advantage to four points as Munster wrestled a modicum of control.
- In a total contrast to the first half, Munster extended their hex on the tie in the opening period of the second half and Keatley’s second penalty of the afternoon put the hosts a converted score ahead, only for Trinh-Duc – introduced for the final half hour – to chip away at the deficit with a three-pointer of his own.
- Toulon wrestled control back as captain Mathieu Bastareaud released Chris Ashton to clinch his 39th Champions Cup try, before Trinh-Duc’s conversion and another penalty kick saw the visitors take what they hoped was a winning six-point advantage.
- Conway offered up the match-winning moment with five minutes to play as he, with an excellent understanding of his geography, kept Trinh-Duc’s clearance in field before evading four Toulon defenders to claim a sensational solo try, before Keatley’s conversion clinched a stunning victory.