Picking the Munster team to take on Exeter in Champions Cup

THE European Champions Cup is back as Munster take on English titans Exeter Chiefs this Saturday, 9 April.

Munster, who qualified third in pool B of the group stages of the tournament take on sixth seeded Exeter this Saturday in the first leg of their Champions Cup last sixteen meeting.

Munster are coming into this game off the back of a tough loss to Leinster in the United Rugby Championship (URC). A win against Exeter this weekend should set Johann Van Graan’s men straight once more as we move into the business end of the season.

Exeter are coming into the tie after a big 42-22 victory over Bath Rugby last weekend that has them sitting at fourth in the premiership table. With superstars like Elliot Daly and Henry Slade, 2020 Champions Cup winners, the Chiefs are a side not to be scoffed at.

Munster currently are dealing with some injury woes which do not help their case against the Chief’s this weekend. Tadhg Beirne is awaiting a specialist review on his thigh injury and Dave Kilcoyne will begin a period of rehabilitation after seeing a specialist for a neck injury. Both Beirne and Kilcoyne are unavailable this weekend.

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Gavin Coombes is also unavailable for Saturday’s visit to Sandy Park and will undergo a scan on the ankle injury he sustained against Leinster. Andrew Conway (knee), James French (knee), RG Snyman (knee) are all out also rehabbing.

With this in mind Munster will need players to step up when it counts at the weekend to keep the hopeful trajectory of the European season alive.


The front three picks itself after Dave Kilcoyne’s injury. Jeremy Loughman was recently called into the national set up while Niall Scannell was a regular in the green jersey for a period. Stephen Archer is a more than willing replacement for Kilcoyne.

With Tadgh Beirne missing in the second row Jason Jenkins fills in as his replacement once more. Partnering Jenkins in the lock position should be Fineen Wycherley who has really grown into a strong ball carrier and tackler in recent times.

Peter O’Mahony at six is the only choice as Beirne isn’t there to cover the position, O’Mahony has recently shown he still has the Midas touch in Munster red. Chris Cloete has had a stormer of a season and is a threat for Munster with ball in hand. He is also a valuable asset at the breakdown, winning turnovers all season. Alex Kendellen has really shown his value in his last few performances, with Gavin Coombes out at the moment the academy graduate can really make the position his own.


Conor Murray got the nod against Leinster, but Craig Casey deserves his chance in a European test after countless top performances in green and red this season. Joey Carbery is a no brainer at ten considering his performance against France in Paris. The centre pairing of Damian De Allende and Chris Farrell picks itself.

And with Andrew Conway ruled out through injury, expect a back three pairing of Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Mike Haley.

Below is the XV that can get the job done in Sandy Park on Saturday.

Potential Munster side to take on Exeter

  1. Jeremy Loughman
  2. Niall Scannell
  3. Stephen Archer
  4. Jason Jenkins
  5. Fineen Wycherley
  6. Peter O’Mahony
  7. Chris Cloete
  8. Alex Kendellen
  9. Craig Casey
  10. Joey Carbey
  11. Simon Zebo
  12. Damien De Allende
  13. Chris Farrell
  14. Keith Earls
  15. Mike Haley


  1. Diarmuid Barron
  2. Josh Wycherley
  3. John Ryan
  4. Thomas Ahern
  5. John Hodnett
  6. Conor Murray
  7. Ben Healy
  8. Shane Daly

Munster face the Exeter Chiefs in the Round of 16 first leg in the Champions Cup this Saturday in Sandy Park at 5.30pm.

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