Munster secure dramatic share of spoils in Exeter

Colm Kinsella

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Colm Kinsella

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Munster secure dramatic share of spoils in Exeter

Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne powers through the Exeter defence during their Champions Cup pool fixture at Sandy Park on Saturday

MUNSTER secured a nail-biting 10-10 draw with Exeter Chiefs in their Heineken Champions Cup pool opener at a windy Sandy Park on Saturday.

A 65th minute try from number eight CJ Stander, converted by Joey Carbery, helped wind-assisted Munster secure s share of the spoils and two points with the Premiership leaders.

The game saw a European Champions Cup debut off the bench for scrum-half Neil Cronin, who was teaching at St Munchin’s College last season before joining the Munster set-up in the summer.

Cronin replaced Duncan Williams who turned in a fine display at scrum-half in the absence of the injured Conor Murray and Alby Mathewson.

Munster were forced into a late change to their starting line-up just before kick-off after winger Keith Earls pulled up in the warm-up and was replaced by Darren Sweetnam.

After playing into the strong wind in the opening half. Munster trailed their hosts 3-10.

Out-half Gareth Steenson kicked Exeter into a 19th minute lead with a penalty goal. Munster drew level on the half hour mark when Carbery landed a penalty in front of the goal.

Exeter took the lead in the 39th minute when their England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie burrowed over from close range. Steenson’s conversion, after he was charged by Munster winger Andrew Conway, handed the home side their seven-point half-time lead.

Limerick centre, Dan Goggin made  his Champions Cup debut in midfield in the game.

Stander’s close range try, converted by Carbery, secured a share of the spoils for Munster.

EXETER CHIEFS: Phil Dollman; Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Ian Whitten, Santiago Cordero; Gareth Steenson (capt), Stuart Townsend; Ben Moon, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Harry Williams, Dave Dennis, Sam Skinner, Dave Ewers, Don Armand, Matt Kvesic. Replacements: Jack Yeandle, Alec Hepburn, Tomas Francis, Ollie Atkins, Tom Lawday, Jack Maunder, Joe Simmonds, Sam Hill.

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam; Joey Carbery, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony (capt), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander. Replacements: Rhys Marshall, James Cronin, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Sam Arnold.

REFEREE: Jérome Garcès (France)