Throwback Thursday: Munster and Saracens’ European showdown

Charlie Bennett
05 December 2019

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We really are spoilt for choice in the Champions Cup this week, with high-flyers Leinster and Northampton Saints facing off at Franklin’s Gardens and a rampant Ulster side hosting Harlequins.

But the one fixture that catches the eye more than any is the battle of the two heavyweights, and two familiar foes in Munster and Saracens.

It’s an inevitability that these two will come face to face in European competition, with this Saturday’s showdown being their fourth clash in five years.

April’s semi-final will no doubt still be strong in the memory for supporters of both sides, so we’ve dug a bit further back into the archives to 2017’s encounter. A place in the final was at stake once again, and as was the case eight months ago, Sarries went on to lift the trophy.

Munster 10-26 Saracens, Aviva Stadium, 2017

The scene was set. A capacity Aviva Stadium crowd. Two sides bulging with world class talent. One place in the final at stake.

Munster came out the blocks quickly, determined to honour the spirit of head coach Anthony Foley, who had passed away the day before their Champions Cup opener earlier in the season.


The Irish side notched the first points of the game through a Tyler Bleyendaal penalty, and with a partisan home crowd behind them, they scavenged for more.

The breakthrough wouldn’t come though, as a typical Sarries defensive performance withstood 40 minutes of pressure, while a couple of Owen Farrell kicks made it 6-3 at the break.

After a number of false dawns, with dropped passes and clumsy errors throughout, the English side soon turned the tables in the second stanza.

With their try line remaining intact, they eventually managed to cross the line at the other end, as Mako Vunipola bundled over to give them breathing space.

Chris Wyles then collected a kick and touched down to further silence the home crowd, as a typical workmanlike Sarries performance eventually bore fruit.

CJ Stander crossed late on for Munster but by that time the result was long but assured, the visitors had stood up to the test, and passed with ease.

Saracens marched on to the final against Clermont at BT Murrayfield, and the rest, as they say, is history.

With another titanic battle expected at Thomond Park on Saturday, Munster will be looking for revenge. After three successive defeats to their English nemeses, but they more than most will know the challenge that lies ahead.


Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!

General sale tickets are available from http://bit.ly/PRO14Cardiff2020 and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.

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