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Side Named For Sharks

January 23, 2015 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Head Coach Anthony Foley has named his side to face Sale Sharks in Munster’s final Champions Cup game of the season this Sunday at Thomond Park.

Felix Jones failed to come through a late fitness test and will miss this weekend’s clash due to a bruised knee.

As you were in the tight five with James Cronin, Duncan Casey and BJ Botha forming the front row while Dave Foley and Paul O’Connell continue in the second row.

In the back row Dave O’Callaghan comes in at 6 with Tommy O’Donnell remaining at 7 and Peter O’Mahony moves to 8 for the first time this season.

Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley continue at half back with Keith Earls making his first start since returning from injury alongside Denis Hurley in the centre.

Following his European debut last weekend, Ronan O’Mahony makes his first start in Europe with Andrew Conway remaining on the opposite wing, while Simon Zebo moves to full back for what will be his 80th appearance in the red of Munster.

The bench sees the inclusion of the returning Robin Copeland and Ivan Dineen who is in line to make his first European appearance if sprung from the bench.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Denis Hurley, Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell; Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony – capt.

Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu, John Ryan, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Robin Copeland, Ivan Dineen, JJ Hanrahan, Pat Howard.

Munster v Sale Sharks, European Champions Cup Round 6, Sunday January 25th at Thomond Park – KO 3:15pm.

Tickets are still available to purchase online by clicking here with prices starting from €;20 and Terrace Family Packs from €;60. Tickets can also be purchased at the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, by calling 0818 719 300, or at the ground on matchday. 
 

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Munster Finish With Flourish

January 25, 2015 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Munster bounced back in impressive fashion to finish this season’s Champions Cup campaign on a high, running in nine tries in a 65-10 win over Sale Sharks at Thomond Park. The game also marked Munster’s 100th win in Europe.

A try in the opening minute provided Munster with the dream start.  A lightening break on the left wing from Ronan O'Mahony put Munster on the front foot, allowing Ian Keatley to put width on the ball, releasing Keith Earls who in turn released full back Simon Zebo who did well to evade the efforts of three Sale defenders to touch down at full stretch.
 
Keatley's impressive place kicking form continued as he bisected the posts with the conversion to give Munster a 7-0 lead in under 2 minutes.
 
Munster's intensity and pace continued as they forced Sharks into conceding the first penalty of the game minutes later – Keatley on the money again as he made the visitors pay for a high tackle and brought the score to10-0 after 7 minutes.
 
Next penalty went the way of Sale as Munster were pinged for going off their feet.  Macleod had no sooner brought his men to within a converted try of Munster than Sale themselves went offside allowing Keatley to restore the lead.
 
However Sharks were to bounce back in style as they ran at Munster with a penalty advantage.  When Tom Arscott sold the dummy all too easily to Munster out wide the winger ran in for Sale on 12 minutes with Macleod doing well to kick low into a strong wind and land the conversion.
 
With the gap back to 3, Munster ill-discipline allowed the Englishmen to attack once again with a penalty advantage.  When the whistle blew for said advantage, sensing a nervy home defence, Sale opted for the corner and went through 10 phases before Andrew Conway saw yellow for further illegal infringement.
 
To the corner again but better defence this time from the Munster-men as they forced the penalty from Sale for holding on.
 
Back in Sale territory and following a block on Simon Zebo, Keatley had the chance to extend Munster's lead to 6, but it was to be a rare miss of his current European campaign.
 
The next kick from the out half was one he'd rather forget.  With Munster winning the advantage in the game's opening scrum, the playmaker failed to find touch, gifting Sale a scrum on the half way line.  However a super turnover on the ground from Paul O'Connell would soon neutralise the Sale onslaught.
 
Injury forced Denis Hurley from the field on 21 minutes with Ivan Dineen coming in to make his European debut.
 
On 31 minutes a trademark Munster maul buoyed both the team and the Thomond Park faithful as the hosts marched into the opposition 22, only for the ball to be knocked on through the phases, inches from the try line.
 
Hands in the ruck afforded Sharks the final attacking opportunity and despite Munster stealing the line out, the sides would continue to trade possession before a final penalty allowed Munster to clear their lines and head for the dressing rooms with just a 3 point advantage.
 
13-10 at the break and Munster still to hit their stride in the Round 6 encounter.
 
As they had done in the opening 40, Munster laid down a marker straight from the restart.
 
Within two minutes Keith Earls, back at his lightening best, picked the cleverest of lines in midfield to take the ball at pace from Ivan Dineen and the returning centre ran from deep inside his own half to touch down under the posts, also giving Keatley the easiest of tap overs for the extras
 
From there, Munster maintained territory and possession as they began to exert dominance at set-piece and on the ground.   Even the neatest of grubbers from Peter O'Mahony kept Sharks firmly out of harms way.
 
Anthony Foley's men looked to have crossed for their third the on 52 minutes from a line out maul, but with the TMO unable to confirm the grounding, play was called back for an attacking 'red' scrum.
 
Aggrieved not to have their efforts rewarded the first time out, the Munster scrum drove Sale back over the their try line from where Peter O'Mahony pounced for the hosts' third try on 54 minutes.
 
A constant pattern of Munster attack followed by Sale turnover persisted for the next 1O minutes before the floodgates finally opened and Munster put their visitors to the sword.
 
Keatley pulled his marker wide to create a gap for Pat Howard to exploit and touch down down before a darting break from the impressive Dineen, on his European debut, brought Munster into the opposition 22 from where the ever opportunistic Simon Zebo picked and went from the base of a ruck to touch down.
 
Dineen was again on hand when he released Zebo for another break.  The fullback in turn fed Andrew Conway to touch down and make it 44-10 with ten minutes to go.
 
Another pick and go try, this time just reward for the dedicated Tommy O'Donnell, and with JJ adding the extras Munster had surpassed the half century.
 
But they weren't done yet.  Replacement prop Stephen Archer followed up a thundering run with a neat pop pass for Duncan Williams to run in Munster's eighth try which Hanrahan duly converted.
 
It could be said that Munster left the best till last.  As a grand finale Hanrahan found Man of the Match Zebo on a searing inside run who again fed Conway to run in his second, and the pick of the tries on the night. 

Hanrahan's conversion was to be the last action of the game as he pushed Munster out to a comprehensive and deserved 65-10 win – Munster's 100th win in Europe.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Keith Earls (Howard 45), Denis Hurley (Dineen 21), Ronan O'Mahony; Ian Keatley (Hanrahan 68), Duncan Williams; James Cronin (Ryan 63), Duncan Casey (Guinazu 65), BJ Botha (Archer 63); Dave Foley (Holland 42), Paul O'Connell; Dave O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, Peter O'Mahony – capt. (Butler 63).

Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu, John Ryan, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Ivan Dineen, JJ Hanrahan, Pat Howard.

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