Champions Cup: Munster v Toulon

Can the Thomond Park faithful push Munster over the line against the French giants?

RuaidhrĂ­ Croke Sat, Mar 31
 
LIVE: Champions Cup: Munster v Toulon

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  • 14:19

    Good afternoon and welcome, it's knockout rugby time!

    Munster meet Toulon at Thomond Park in what should be a cracking Champions Cup final and I'll be with you all the way to keep you right up to date. My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll be taking you through all of the thrills and spills from Limerick. You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog.

    Teams and all of the build-up on the way!

  • 14:33

    MUNSTER:  Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.


    Replacements:  Niall Scannell, James Cronin, John Ryan, Gerbrandt Grobler, Robin Copeland, James Hart, JJ Hanrahan, Darren Sweetnam.


    RC TOULON:  Chris Ashton; Josua Tuisova, Mathieu Bastareaud, Ma’a Nonu, Semi Radradra; Francois Trinh-Duc, Eric Escande; Florian Fresia, Guilhem Guirado, Marcel Van Der Merwe; Juandre Kruger, Dave Attwood; Raphael Lakafia, Facundo Isa, Duane Vermeulen.


    Replacements:  Anthony Etrillard, Xavier Chiocci, Emerick Setiano, Romain Taofifenua, Anthony Belleau, Malakai Fekitoa, Alby Mathewson, Samu Manoa.


    Referee:  Nigel Owens (Wales).

  • 14:40

    Just over 35 minutes until kick-off now and Thomond Park is beginning to fill up.

    This is going to be a huge test for Munster with a few players missing while Toulon are back to full strength and ominously beat Clermont Auvergne 49-0 in the Top14 last weekend.

    One person who knows all about playing against Munster in the cauldron of Thomond is Matt Williams and he writes about how to take them on in his column today.

    Matt Williams: Only way to triumph at Thomond Park is to out-Munster Munster

  • 14:53

    At the end of an epic encounter at the Sportsground, Connacht have been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Gloucester after a 33-28 loss.

    At Thomond the players are completing their warm-ups. Check out Gerry Thornley's match preview ahead of the big game.

    Only Munster's best will do against Toulon's galaticos

  • 15:07
    Munster have completed their lap of the pitch and are back in the dressing room for the final few minutes together before the action begins.
  • 15:13
    The players are on the pitch and we're just about ready to go!
  • 15:15
    1 min: The game is underway at Thomond Park!  (Munster 0 Toulon 0)
  • 15:17
    2 mins: Drama from the very start! A perfectly weighted box kick over the Munster defence ignited a race between Simon Zebo and Chris Ashton to get to the ball first at the Munster tryline. Zebo got there first and palmed the ball over the line but the TMO is now looking at it to see if it was deliberate and whether or not to award a penalty try!  (Munster 0 Toulon 0)
  • 15:18
    2 mins: No try! Nigel Owens decides that it was a knock-on from Ashton and Munster get the scrum.  (Munster 0 Toulon 0)
  • 15:21
    3 mins: It's been a tense start for Munster but a successful scrum and Murray clearance gives them room to breathe. Toulon lineout inside the Munster half.  (Munster 0 Toulon 0)
  • 15:23
    4 mins: Toulon go close once again! A beautiful pass from Ma'a Nonu out to Joshua Tuisova looks to open up the space to go in for a try but Andrew Conway gets across to clatter him out of play right in the corner!  (Munster 0 Toulon 0)
  • 15:24
    5 mins: Toulon have a lineout in the Munster 22. They've made a blistering start here and Munster are holding on. They haven't been out of their own half yet.  (Munster 0 Toulon 0)
  • 15:26
    7 mins: Keatley kicks into the Toulon half but it offers only temporary relief as the French side launch another attack. How long can Munster sustain this defensive effort...  (Munster 0 Toulon 0)
  • 15:29
    10 mins: 93 per cent of possession has been in the Munster half so far and unsuprisingly it's Toulon who brek the deadlock as Anthony Belleau slots over a penalty.  (Munster 0 Toulon 3)
  • 15:32
    12 mins: Finally Munster enjoy some possession and approach the Toulon 22 before winning a penalty of their own. Ian Keatley will go for the corner, however. You'd think after the pressure they have been under they would take the three points.  (Munster 0 Toulon 3)
  • 15:33
    14 mins: That decision almost pays off! A well worked lineout and strong maul brings Munster right up to the line before Stander makes a dive for the try but is denied a few inches short.  (Munster 0 Toulon 3)
  • 15:38
    17 mins: Toulon are back on the attack and looking ominous just short of the Munster tryline...  (Munster 0 Toulon 3)
  • 15:40
    19 mins: Drop goal for Toulon! Phase after phase was driven back by Munster before the French decided that they were better off getting something out of it as Belleau drops into the pocket and slots over a lovely kick.  (Munster 0 Toulon 6)
  • 15:45

    25 mins: Munster are starting to come back into this much more now as Keatley steals in behind to take an overthrown Toulon lineout.

    However, the French side quickly win the penalty and kick to touch.  (Munster 0 Toulon 6)

  • 15:47
    25 mins: Sad scenes here as Simon Zebo has to be withdrawn with an injury. He's replaced by Darren Sweetnam but that is the last time we will see Zebo wearing a Munster jersy in a European game at Thomond Park.  (Munster 0 Toulon 6)
  • 15:52
    28 mins: We've gone to the TMO regarding a possible Munster try...  (Munster 0 Toulon 6)
  • 15:54
    28 mins: This is taking a while...  (Munster 0 Toulon 6)
  • 15:56

    TRY FOR MUNSTER!

    MUNSTER 5 TOULON 6

  • 15:57
    29 mins: That is one of the longest TMO decisions I've ever seen but it has resulted in a most bizarre Munster try thanks to Murray capitalising on Toulon thinking the ball was dead. Keatley converts and, totally against the run of play, Munster lead!  (Munster 7 Toulon 6)
  • 15:59
    30 mins: We are in the 30th minute of play. The game started 45 minutes ago.  (Munster 7 Toulon 6)
  • 16:02
    31 mins: Munster increase their lead! They're making the absolute most of the limited possession they have had so far as Keatley kicks a penalty. Toulon are going to have to keep their heads here if they're going to turn this around, they must be feeling extremely hard done by.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:06
    36 mins: Munster are growing and growing in confidence here and won a penalty in a central position but far out. However, Murray will take it on...  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:07
    37 mins: But it flies wide and Ashton clears.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:10
    39 mins: Attwood makes a monstrous break through the middle, bodies flying everywhere but he's pulled down and Toulon fumble, allowing Munster off the hook!  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:10
    HALF TIME: MUNSTER 10 TOULON 6
  • 16:16
    That was a 56 minute first half but Munster won't care. They are, somehow, leading at Thomond Park and Toulon look a bit shell-shocked. Let's see how they react in the second half.
  • 16:26
    41 mins: The second half is underway at Thomond Park!  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:28
    42 mins: An interesting tactic from Munster there. After some good possession it's played back to Keatley who kicks for goal but it drifts wide.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:35
    47 mins: This is all suiting Munster now as Toulon still look a little out of sorts and have fumbled a few carries. The longer this carries on the happier Munster will be.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:37
    49 mins: Munster's lineout game has been absolutely superb today and once again they come out on top as O'Mahony rises to steal a Toulon throw.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:39
    51 mins: Munster are laying into Toulon with some superb tackles with Arnold the latest to foil a French attack. Munster get the lineout and win it. They're going through the phases inside the Toulon half...  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:39
    52 mins: Sweetnam tries the kick through to Conway but Ashton won't be fooled by that. He's read it from the start and easily gets across to cover.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:42
    53 mins: Francois Trinh-Duc replaces Belleau for Toulon as Munster maul towards the Toulon 22.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:44
    55 mins: Penalty for Munster! A monumental effort from John Ryan in the scrum, just minutes after coming on, wins the penalty and Keatley will now have the chance to increase the lead to seven points.  (Munster 10 Toulon 6)
  • 16:45
    56 mins: It's there! Keatley makes no mistake.  (Munster 13 Toulon 6)
  • 16:46
    58 mins: Sweetnam again with a major tackle on the wing! Munster are not giving Toulon an inch now.  (Munster 13 Toulon 6)
  • 16:48

    59 mins: Radradra drops a golden opportunity right on the line!

    It looked to be a certain Toulon try as Radradra bounded towards the line but the ball slipped out of his hand just inches short and Munster are let off the hook!  (Munster 13 Toulon 6)

  • 16:52
    61 mins: Finally Toulon pick up a score after a Kleyn foul allowed Trinh-Duc to kick a penalty.  (Munster 13 Toulon 9)
  • 16:56

    TRY FOR TOULON!

    MUNSTER 13 TOULON 14

  • 16:58

    65 mins: Well, well, well. Toulon were never going to go down without a fight and it's Basteraud and Trinh-Duc who teamed up in the middle of the pitch. Trinh-Duc's little pass in the midfield may have been forward but it's too difficult to tell and the TMO gives the benefit of the doubt to Toulon.

    That allowed Basteraud to charge through and flick it to Ashton who was able to go over between the posts. Trinh-Duc converts and Toulon lead.  (Munster 13 Toulon 16)

  • 17:01
    68 mins: And Toulon increase their lead. A quick penalty is slotted over by Trinh-Duc who can do no wrong since coming on.  (Munster 13 Toulon 19)
  • 17:05
    73 mins: Munster are not giving up. Murray gets away with a cheeky kick out of the scrum and Munster get a lineout five metres short of the Toulon tryline...  (Munster 13 Toulon 19)
  • 17:06
    74 mins: Munster drive over the line but Basteraud managed to hold it up! What incredible work for the Frenchman and Toulon can breathe a sigh of relief. Not for long though as we have a five metre scrum.  (Munster 13 Toulon 19)
  • 17:09
    75 mins: Munster patiently work it across to the far side before switching back but Keatley's looping pass is intercepted and the chance is gone!  (Munster 13 Toulon 19)
  • 17:09

    TRY FOR MUNSTER!

    MUNSTER 18 TOULON 19

  • 17:11

    76 mins: What a try from Andrew Conway!  

    Trinh Duc kicks for touch but Conway managed to catch it on the line with the ball well over his head. After that magnificent catch he bolted through the Toulon defence, sidestepping Fekitoa just short of the line before diving over!

    And Keatley has converted to put Munster into the lead!  (Munster 20 Toulon 19)

  • 17:15
    79 mins: Munster have possession in the middle of the pitch. If they can just hold onto it...  (Munster 20 Toulon 19)
  • 17:16
    80 mins: But they can't and Toulon have it! They're still in their own half but they will have this attack, any score at all will do...  (Munster 20 Toulon 19)
  • 17:17
    80+1 mins: The clock is in red and Toulon are on the halfway line...  (Munster 20 Toulon 19)
  • 17:18
    80+2 mins:  15 phases and counting as they try to move Trinh-Duc into dropgoal position...  (Munster 20 Toulon 19)
  • 17:19
    PENALTY FOR MUNSTER!
  • 17:19
    80+3 mins: Ashton is penalised for not moving away and Munster are heading into the last four!  (Munster 20 Toulon 19)
  • 17:19
    FULL TIME: MUNSTER 20 TOULON 19!
  • 17:23
    Well what a win that was. Toulon were very much in control early on but Munster stayed patient and got themselves back into it. Ashton's try looked like it may have turned the game back around in Toulon's favour but not if Andrew Conway had anything to say about it. His stunning solo run made the difference and ensured Munster will be heading to France for the last four of the Champions Cup! That's all from me. Thanks for reading and stay tuned to www.irishtimes.com/sport for reports and reaction from Limerick, bye!
  • 17:52