Munster 9-7 Exeter: Joey Carbery kicks hosts into quarter-finals
By Simon Mail
Last Updated: 19/01/19 7:49pm
Munster edged to a 9-7 victory over Exeter at Thomond Park to top their pool and end Exeter's Champions Cup hopes.
Three penalties from Joey Carbery were enough to end the resistance of a gutsy Exeter side. The Chiefs led for much of the contest but fell just short in their attempts to reach the quarter-finals.
Exeter edged into a 7-6 lead at half-time with Don Armand's try giving them a slender advantage in an extremely physical contest.
Both teams spurned opportunities during a tense second half but Carbery stepped up to score the decisive penalty, in the final ten minutes, to book their place in the last eight of the competition.
Carbery kicked Munster into an early lead from a penalty but Exeter hit back and scored the opening try when Armand grounded the ball after a catch and drive. Joe Simmonds added the conversion for the Premiership side.
Munster fly-half Carbery reduced Exeter's lead by drilling over a penalty midway through the first half.
Exeter earned a couple of penalties in dangerous positions but their decision to kick for the corner backfired after giving away possession cheaply.
The visitors had the edge in the first half but spurned another opportunity from a penalty in the corner to leave them with the narrowest of leads at half-time.
Despite leading, Exeter needed to win by more than seven points to pip Munster to top spot.
A brilliant kick from Nic White put Munster under pressure in the second half and they conceded a penalty for pulling down a lineout. But a superb defensive effort enabled the Pro14 side to steal the ball back.
With less than ten minutes remaining, Exeter conceded a penalty at a lineout. Carbery opted to go for the posts and the fly-half maintained his impeccable record by edging the hosts into the lead.
The Chiefs desperately pushed for a second try, although it would still not have been enough to progress, but Munster forced them out of play to clinch their 12th successive home win and top spot after a bruising encounter.