Judgment day for Munster's Champions Cup bid

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Judgment day for Munster's Champions Cup bid

MUNSTER’S bid to salvage their season reaches a critical point this Saturday as Anthony Foley’s charges bid to tie down Champions Cup qualification for next season at Thomond Park.

Munster need to take two points from their final round Guinness Pro12 regular season fixture against the Scarlets (3pm) to ensure their place in Europe’s elite club rugby competition next season.

Munster’s hopes of making it through to the Pro12 play-offs are over, the fourth time in 12 seasons that the province won’t be involved at the business end of that competition.

Munster chiefs estimate that qualifying for the Champions Cup instead of the Challenge Cup is worth €500,000 in gate receipts for the province.  

For the first time this season, head coach Anthony Foley has named an unchanged team as Munster bid to secure Champions Cup qualification. This is the last occasion Foley picks the starting line-up before new Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus takes on the responsibility from next season.

This Saturday’s match marks a milestone in the career of Dave Kilcoyne who will win his 100th cap for the province.

More than 17,000 tickets had been sold for the make-or-break game earlier this week,

For fans unable to attend the final round fixture at Thomond Park, the game can be viewed live on the TG4 Player, at UPC 602, from Saorview Red Button or at Welsh language channel S4C.

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Johnny Holland, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Billy Holland, Dave O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander (capt). Replacements: Mike Sherry, James Cronin, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Jack O'Donoghue, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Ronan O'Mahony.

SCARLETS: Liam Williams; Gareth Owen, Steff Hughes, Hadeigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Steve Shingler, Aled Davies; Rob Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Peter Edwards, Jake Ball, David Bulbring, Lewis Rawlins, James Davies, John Barclay. Replacements: Ryan Elias, Dylan Evans, Rhodri Jones, Tom Price, Morgan Allen, Gareth Davies, Aled Thomas, Michael Tagicakibau.

REFEREE: Nigel Owens (Wales)