Munster suffered a heart breaking defeat to Toulouse in their quarter-final clash on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium.
Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter final between Munster and Toulouse finished 24-24 in regulation time and with the scores still all square after twenty extra minutes a penalty shootout was needed. Toulouse stole the game with a 4-2 win in the shootout making this contest one that will not be forgotten any time soon.
Both sides scored three tries apiece, for the French side Matthis Lebel scored a brace while Romain Ntamack added a third. Johann van Graan’s side had Tries from Alex Kendellen, Keith Earls and Mike Haley.
With the nature of the game going to the shootout both sides couldn’t have given much more in their efforts to win the game. This led to some notable performances throughout the match for both sides.
Below are the Munster player ratings from an absorbing clash.
Josh Wycherley – 6.5
As a prop scrummaging is a vital part of your role on the field, sadly for Munster their front row and scrum in general were not at Toulouse’s level. Giving away penalties gave the French side ample encouragement to continue to attack that part of Munster’s game.
Some great moments in open play helped Wycherley put his stamp on the game such as his tackle on Thomas Ramos and his one handed catch to set up Earl’s try.
Niall Scannell – 6
Scannell’s performance wasn’t one of great feats or moments but he stuck to his basic lineout duties. He looked a bit flat with ball in hand only making fourteen meters from six carries. That being said Munster’s lineout was a threat throughout the game so although sticking to the basics wont make him stand out like hookers elsewhere, it was still a commendable shift.
Stephen Archer – 5
Archer came on to the field to enjoy a landmark day in his career as he took the field for his 247th cap, making him the joint second most capped player in the clubs history. Unfortunately that was where the party stopped for Archer as it just wasn’t his day the the scrum.
He popped out of the front row a few times under the pressure of the French sides front row and subbed off on the 51st minute mark.
Jean Kleyn – 7
The South African born lock put in a good shift at second row as he was able to net seven tackles with his time on the field. His lineout play was quite good as himself and Fineen Wycherley looked to disrupt every Toulouse ball. He was also just meters short of bagging himself a try in the early stages of the game.
Fineen Wycherley – 8
The young lock had a monster game on Saturday, where he was a serious presence in the lineout and in the open field. He made ten tackles while carrying the ball seven times, but he was was still felt when he wasn’t affecting the play directly.
Not taken off until the 72nd minute, it was clear to see that the coaches wanted him on the field for as long as he could physically play. One destined for greatness, he has hugely helped ease the loss of Tadhg Beirne.
Peter O’Mahony – 9
The Munster captain put on a vintage performance. Like his performances against Exeter, O’Mahony used all his wit and experience to effect some key interventions on the field. His performance eventually took its toll however as the skipper came off with a shoulder injury on 63 minutes.
Before he went off, he won his side a vital penalty to help relieve some defensive pressure for his teammates.
Munster led by ten prior to his departure as the loss of the games man of the match took its toll.
Alex Kendellen – 8
Greencore Academy Graduate Kendellen continued his run of influential performances as he quickly makes a name for himself. Kendellen produced a brilliant tackle on Dupont which lead to a huge momentum swing for Munster as they won a penalty and added three points on the board.
His major contribution to the game was obviously his try in the 9th minute of the game to get Munster on the scoreboard.
Another young player taking their chance with both hands.
Jack O’ Donoghue – 8.5
O’Donoghue has really stepped up this season, his performances have been top class and Saturday’s game was no different. With ten carries the no.8 made up 43 meters for his side while also completing fifteen tackles.
His breakdown prowess is a huge tool to Munster on both sides of the ball as he is always looking for that turnover for his side. Being selected as captain while O’Mahony was off the field further solidifies his importance to the red province.
Conor Murray – 7
It wasn’t much of a shock for anyone to see Conor Murray at the scrum-half position for the European clash. His experience in high pressure games definitely helped Munster through some shaky times in the match. His game management when his side were down 7-14 helped to calm the tempers and make sure Toulouse couldn’t add anymore onto the board.
When subbed off for Casey around the hour mark we didn’t expect to see Murray back on the field, but an injury to Zebo forced him back on. Unfortunately the scrum-half missed one penalty out of his two kicks in the shootout.
Joey Carbery – 7
Carbery did a good job of facilitating the play on his side of the park, giving the forwards and the other backs plenty of opportunities to go and play.
Sadly two missed penalties from the former Leinster man will probably haunt him as he couldn’t stretch his sides lead to a safer score. With 56 meters made and eight tackles he still put in a shift to be proud of.
Simon Zebo – 7
The crowd favourite looked to affect the play as much as he could as he searched for the ball throughout the game. With only three carries the whole matched he managed 32 meters with the ball, which is quite impressive. A huge tackle from Rory Arnold put a halt to his game as from then on in he wasn’t able to move as freely as he would have hoped.
Just before the first 80 minutes were up, he was subbed off due to the injury he had picked up in the game.
Damien De Allende – 7.5
The South African’s short stint at Munster has been marred with injuries throughout but most recently De Allende has got a great run in the team. De Allende was like a bettering ram against the French sides defence.
He was often used as a decoy for his side to release the ball wide due to his threat and power. His kicking was a mixed bagged that lost the ball on a couple of occasions for the red side, but it was another strong performance from the World-Cup winner
Chris Farrell – 8
Farrell really stepped up in this game as he played the game with incredible intensity throughout the whole game. He set up a great lineout opportunity for his side after a kick and chase that forced Toulouse back into their own 22.
His stand out moment of the game was a brilliant side step that cut the champions defence in half, he then had the awareness to move the ball onto Mike Haley for the try.
Keith Earls – 7.5
Like Zebo, Earls had to really look to get involved in the game as the wide channels weren’t the most eventful area throughout the game. Earls made sure he was in the right position off of a Joey Carbery pass that allowed him to dart for the line and a try in the game.
His finishing is always something Munster can rely on whether he has been involved in the game or not.
Mike Haley – 7
Haley has some real high quality moments in the game but he also had a few slip ups to balance out the performance. An excellent tackle on Matthis Label was made redundant when Toulouse scored a try only a few phases later.
Jumping on the chance to make a tackle before the second try he allowed too much space either side of him and the French sauntered over the line. Haley got his own back however as he finished off a great break from Chris Farrell to put his mark on the game.