Carbery helps error-strewn Munster reach Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals

Credit: @Munsterrugby

Munster Rugby 9 Exeter Chiefs 7

Three successful kicks from Joey Carbery and a Man of the Match performance from Tadhg Berine helped Munster to a narrow two point win over Gallagher Premiership side Exeter Chiefs in their Round 6 Heineken Champions Cup clash at Thomond Park.

With the winner uncertain for most of this tightly-fought game, Carbery had the bottle to kick over the crucial penalty in the dying minutes of the game to ensure the southern province again made the quarter-finals of European rugby’s top competition.

In an error-strewn opening half performance from Munster, Johann van Graan’s side found themselves one point behind at the interval.

Two Joey Carbery penalties was all the home side could post on the scoreboard in the first 40 minutes as Exeter’s converted try gave the English side the edge.

Munster opened the scoring when French referee Jerome Garces gave the home side two penalties in quick succession. On the first occasion captain Peter O’Mahony asked Carbery to go for touch from just outside the 10m line, but when Exeter were again blown minutes later, the Munster No. 10 kicked for the posts to put his side 3-0 ahead with just six minutes on the clock.

Exeter’s Don Armand scored the only first half try in a fashion similar to how Rob Baxter’s team get many five pointers in the Gallagher Premiership. Munster were penalised for not rolling away, allowing Joe Simmonds kick for touch, reaching the touchline 5m out. With the lineout won, the dogged determination of the Chiefs outfit saw Armand crash over for the 13th minute try. Simmonds, whose kick began the move, added the extras for a 7-3 lead for the visitors.

Carbery reduced the deficit when kicking his second penalty of the game, the final score of the half, from just inside the Exter 10m line. Johann van Graan’s men had benefitted from a long penalty advantage before O’Mahony sensibly decided to give Carbery the opportunity to take three points and reduce the home side’s deficit.

While Munster were beaten upfront for most of the second half, and with Exeter displaying a better kicking game and more accurate passing, Carbery ensured his uncharacteristically error prone side progressed when kicking the 44m penalty, putting his team ahead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.

With the momentum behind them and the noisy Thomond Park crowd at their back, the 2006 and 2008 Heineken Cup champions held on to win by two points.

Final score: Munster Rugby 9 Exeter Chiefs 7

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