Munster secure dramatic share of spoils in Exeter

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)

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