Keith Earls celebrates his second try against Edinburgh
Munster Rugby will be hoping to end a run of six European Cup semi-finals without victory this afternoon when they take on fellow two-time winners Saracens in their Heineken Champions Cup last four clash at the Ricoh Arena.
The English side reached their sixth semi-final in seven seasons after a 56-27 win over Glasgow Warriors in the quarter-finals while Munster edged out Edinburgh Rugby 17-13 at BT Murrayfield in their last eight clash.
You can watch live coverage from BT Sport and beIN SPORTS, while the game is also live on the radio with Live95.
Saracens: 1st, Pool 3, 28 points
Munster Rugby: 1st, Pool 2, 21 points
Saracens wins: 3
Munster Rugby wins: 5
Saracens: Owen Farrell (57), Alex Lozowski (25), Ben Spencer (24)
Munster Rugby: Joey Carbery (70), JJ Hanrahan (20), Keith Earls (15)
Mark McCall (Saracens): “Their defence is the area that I see as the thing that they have most improved. It’s difficult to win set-piece ball against them and I think they have added some strings to their bow in attack.
“So, [they are] just a really good all-round team and they did a very good job at home to Exeter, who are flying in our competition over here.
“There is no obvious weakness. They do the fundamental things brilliantly, so we know we are in for a really tough challenge on Saturday.”
Chris Farrell (Munster): “They are consistently a really physical side, so that will be key for us is to stop their momentum,” the Irish international added. “They rely on set-piece and the contact area.
“They have been one of the biggest forces in Europe in the last few years and won every game in the pool stages, but we won’t be giving anything away.”
Wing Keith Earls – who scored two tries in Munster’s win over Edinburgh – could feature after being reintegrated into training this week after being withdrawn from the side as a precaution two weeks ago.
Munster fly-half Joey Carbery is highly unlikely to feature this Saturday due to a hamstring injury.
- Saracens have won three of their last four games against Munster in the tournament, after losing each of their first four prior to that run.
- Saracens and Munster have met twice before in the semi-final with Munster winning 18-16 at the Ricoh Arena in 2008 while Saracens secured a 26-10 victory at the Aviva Stadium in 2017; on each occasion the winning side went on to lift the trophy.
- Saracens have reached the semi-final stage for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, progressing to the final from three of their last four appearances.
- Munster are appearing in the semi-finals for a record 14th time (W4, L9); however, they’ve lost each of their last six matches, and they last reached the final in 2008 following their win against Saturday’s opposition.
- Saracens have averaged more points (34.4) and tries (4.3) per game than any other side this season.
- Munster have averaged fewer metres (280) and breaks (5) per game than any other side and have also averaged the most kicks during play (25).
- Saracens’ Alex Goode and Munster’s CJ Stander are two of five players to have played the maximum 560 minutes this season.
- Stander has made the most tackles (112), and he is also one of just three players to make 100+ carries (also Viliame Mata 141 and James Ryan 103).
- Munster lock Tadhg Beirne has won the most turnovers (14) to date. Saracens and England hooker, Jamie George, has hit the target with 94% of this lineout throws (80/85), the best rate of any of the 16 players to take 30+ throws.