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Champions Cup

Preview: Muster and Exeter Face Off for Quarter-Final Place

Exeter Chiefs chase history at Thomond Park

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Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

On Saturday at 17:30, a sold-out Thomond Park will see Pool 2 leaders Munster take on Exeter for a place in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Munster head into the game on 17 points, 4 ahead of their opponents, knowing anything other then a loss will see them through.

Exeter are looking to become the first team in the competitions history to be winless after the first three pool games and still qualify. They are coming into the match after back to back bonus point victories against Gloucester and Castres.

Last weekend’s impressive 34-12 over the French giants ensured that they kept their faith in their own hands in the final round of pool fixtures.

Their revival will have its biggest challenge yet on Saturday, as Munster come into the game following their 41-15 demolition of Gloucester and confidence flying high.

In team news, Munster’s Peter O’Mahony has been passed fit to play after popping a rib in the win last weekend, and he will captain the side from the flank.

Munster’s only change sees John Ryan come in for Stephan Archer, who in turn has a place on the bench.

Meaning Joey Carbery remains at No.10 following his 26 point man of the match performance last time out and will be looking to continue his fine form heading into the 6 Nations.

The Exeter Chiefs also have one change to their side with Harry Williams coming in for Tomas Francais, who misses out due to illness.

Jack Nowell starts at full-back, after England coach Eddie Jones claimed earlier in the week, that he may start him as an openside flanker during the 6 Nations.

The British & Irish Lion was awarded ‘Try of the Round’ for this effort last weekend against Castres.

Here’s how the Chiefs will line up.

Chiefs director of rugby, Rob Baxter, has admitted the task his side face is a hard one, but everything is to fight for despite the challenge.

“We know we have to force that four point separation of either a 4-0 or 5-1 victory. We’re very much aware of that and how tough that makes it for us. However, there is still something tangible there for us to go out and fight for”

Saturday evening will see two top sides battle it out for a quarter-final spot.

The reality is that Exeter must overcome their biggest challenge yet as they head to Thomond Park for the first time, but one thing is for sure Munster won’t have it all their own way.

We’ve made our prediction for the game and all the other Pool 6 Fixtures here, check them out and let us know what you think.

Watch the game live on BT Sport, Saturday 17:30.

Challenge Cup

Ulster name team for Northampton Quarter-Final trip

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad for the trip to face Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off 8pm).

Michael Lowry is named to start at full-back, and is joined in the back three by Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and Billy Burns and John Cooney are the starting half-backs.

In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore retain their starting berths. Alan O’Connor will partner Kieran Treadwell in the second row. Last week’s Player of the Match, Sean Reidy, will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy skippering the team at openside and Nick Timoney at Number Eight.

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea and Greg Jones will provide the forward reinforcements from the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy named as the back line options.

Ulster team to play Northampton Saints, Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, Saturday 10 April at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport):

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Nick Timoney.

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.

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Champions Cup

Big names miss out for Ulster

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(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Ulster match-day squad to face Gloucester tomorrow afternoon in Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup has been named (Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm).  

The back line sees just one change from the side that played Toulouse last Friday. Michael Lowry, Jacob Stockdale and Matt Faddes all retain their positions in the back three. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are the starting midfield duo. Billy Burns returns at fly-half and will captain the side; he will partner John Cooney at scrum-half.  

The front row remains unchanged for this game. Rob Herring is named at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore packing down at loosehead and tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor will partner with his brother David – who will make his first Heineken Champions Cup start with Sam Carter missing out through concussion. Sean Reidy has been selected at blindside, with Jordi Murphy returning at openside. Nick Timoney comes in to start at Number Eight to replace the injured Marcel Coetzee.

John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, and Greg Jones are the forward bench options. Academy player, Ethan McIlroy could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, and is named alongside Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan in the back line replacements.    

Ulster team to play Gloucester, Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Saturday 19 December 2020 at Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:  

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns (Capt.), John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney. 

Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.  

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Champions Cup

Ulster name strong side to face Toulouse

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(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad for the province’s opening Pool game of the 2020-21 Heineken Champions Cup against Toulouse on Friday (kick-off 8pm, Kingspan Stadium). 

In the back three, Jacob Stockdale returns from international duty to the left wing, joining Michael Lowry at full-back and Matt Faddes on the right wing. In midfield, Stuart McCloskey also returns from the Ireland squad to partner with James Hume. Ian Madigan has been named at fly-half alongside John Cooney at scrum-half. 

Having made his international debut against Scotland last week, Eric O’Sullivan, comes in to take the starting berth at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from Ireland duties and is named at hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his position at tighthead. Alan O’Connor will partner with Sam Carter, who will lead the side from the second row. Sean Reidy and Jordi Murphy are named at blindside and openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at Number Eight. 

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, and Matty Rea provide the forward options, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Craig Gilroy offering back line cover from the bench. 

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round 1, Friday 11 December 2020 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee. 

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Matty Rea, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

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