Munster seal late win over Toulon

Sat, 31 Mar 2018 14:00
Large andrew conway   800

CHAMPIONS CUP MATCH REPORT: Andrew Conway's dazzling individual try five minutes from time took Munster into the European Champions Cup semi-finals on Saturday with a thrilling 20-19 victory over three-time champions Toulon.

The 26-year-old Ireland wing showed little sign of the injury that had threatened to rule him out as he brilliantly caught Francois Trinh Duc's kick to touch, just inside the Toulon half, and went on a mazy run, beating defender after defender to touch down.

Ian Keatley converted to send the Irish province into their 13th semi-final from 18 quarter-finals contested.

"The 23 fellas put in a savage shift," said Munster skipper and man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony.

"Conway's try was world class and due reward because we stuck at it. This type of day means a lot to us as many of us grew up around here."  

Toulon's Chris Ashton - who scored their only try - said they would rue the defeat.

"I think we will look back and think how did we lose this," said the former England wing.   

Munster join Scarlets in the last four after the Welsh region reached the semi-finals for the first time in 11 years with victory over La Rochelle on Friday.

Munster will play the winners of Sunday's all-French clash between Clermont and Racing 92 while Scarlets face either Leinster or two-time defending champions Saracens.   

Anthony Belleau, a late replacement in the starting line-up for Trinh-Duc, slotted over a penalty in the 10th minute to give Toulon an early deserved lead.

Belleau added another three points with a drop goal as the game neared the end of the first quarter.

There was an emotional end to former Ireland back Simon Zebo's home career at Munster as the Racing 92-bound star limped off -- he had been hurt preventing Ashton scoring an early try -- weeping in the 25th minute.

Munster scrumhalf Conor Murray was then awarded a try after a nifty bit of opportunism, stealing the ball from the back of a ruck on the line.

Keatley added the extras to give Munster a 7-6 lead against the run of play.

Keatley converted a penalty a couple of minutes later to make it 10-6 as Toulon coach Fabien Galthie started to look ruffled.       

Galthie decided to throw on Trinh-Duc with half an hour remaining.

However, the challenge facing Trinh-Duc increased as Keatley landed a penalty after the Munster front row had caused all sorts of problems for their opposite numbers.

Trinh Duc reduced the deficit on the hour mark with a penalty to set up a nerve-wracking last 20 minutes.

The mercurial flyhalf was then instrumental in Ashton's try - Trinh-Duc's pass to Matthieu Bastareaud saw referee Nigel Owens raise the whistle to his lips for a forward pass but the Welshman refrained in what proved to be a good call.

Bastareaud then picked out Ashton who had cut inside and he raced over to touch down. Trinh-Duc added the extras for a 16-13 lead.

However, Conway then turned the match on its head before Toulon's final chance came and went as Ashton conceded a penalty.    

The Scorers:

For Munster:
Tries
: Murray, Conway
Cons: Keatley  2
Pens: Keatley 2

For Toulon:
Try
: Ashton
Con: Trinh-Duc
Pens: Belleau, Trinh-Duc 2
Drop Goal: Belleau

Teams:

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Sam Arnold, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Jack O'Donoghue, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 James Hart, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Darren Sweetnam.

Toulon: 15 Chris Ashton, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Semi Radradra, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Facundo Isa, 6 Raphael Lakafia, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Anthony Belleau, 21 Malakai Fekitoa, 22 Alby Mathewson, 23 Samu Manoa.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales) 
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Ian Davies (Wales) 
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 6 4 0 2 20
Wasps 6 3 0 3 17
Ulster 6 4 0 2 17
Harlequins 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 22
Saracens 6 3 1 2 18
Ospreys 6 2 1 3 15
Northampton Saints 6 1 0 5 6
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 6 0 0 27
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 15
Montpellier 6 2 0 4 13
Glasgow Warriors 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 4 1 1 21
Racing Metro 6 4 0 2 19
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Leicester Tigers 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 6 4 0 2 21
Toulon 6 4 0 2 19
Bath 6 4 0 2 18
Treviso 6 0 0 5 4