Munster's try-scoring hero Keith Earls insists he never lost faith

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Munster's try-scoring  hero Keith Earls insists he never lost faith

Winger Keith Earls, who scored two tries in Munster's Heineken Champions Cup win over Edinburgh

MUNSTER’S try scoring hero Keith Earls insisted he was always confident the side would manage to pull out a victory in Saturday's nail-biting Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final win over Edinburgh.

Munster trailed their Pro14 rivals inside the closing 10 minutes of their last eight clash at Murrayfield, before Limerick winger Earls struck for the second of his two crucial tries on the day.

Johann van Graan’s Munster side are now looking forward to a glamour Heineken Champions Cup semi-final showdown with Saracens at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Saturday, April 20, 3.15pm.

Sarries’ the 2016 and 2017 winners, produced a clinical seven-try display to beat Glasgow in their quarter-final.

Asked this week if he thought Munster’s hopes of progressing to another semi-final had passed when they trailed Richard Cockerill’s side late on at Murrayfield, Earls said: “It’s weird you know when you get these feelings when you know you are not going to lose. I didn’t think we were going to lose at the weekend.

“Look, both sides were putting pressure on and both sides were cracking. It was a silly mistake by one of their players that turned the game for us and it that bit of luck we got.

Tyler (Bleyendaal) comes on with a great kick to touch and I think he got the over throw as well and we created an overlap as well with nice hands from the boys inside and thankfully we got in the corner and they are small little margins that win you a game but you have to be willing to take those opportunities as well.”

Earls is the only member of the current Munster squad to have a European Cup won in 2008 when he was on the bench for the final in Cardiff.

So what are his memories of the 2008 semi-final when Munster faced Saracens at the Ricoh Arena?

“I was at home watching it with my old man. I remember Quinny’s (Alan Quinlan’s) try and his celebration that sticks out in my mind, but look two completely different teams and we’ll enter as underdogs.

“You know we will have to learn from our mistakes from a couple of years ago, but we know it’s going to be a massive challenge. I think they are the number one seeded team but you know we’ll give it a good belt anyway but we have to think about the next couple of weeks first before we think about Saracens.”

Munster face Cardiff Blues in the Guinness Pro14 at Musgrave Park this Friday night, 7.35pm, live on eirSport and TG4.

Munster were thumped 37-13 by the Blues in Cardiff last September.