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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 25 January, 2020
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Here we go again. 

Connacht have just clinched a dramatic win in Galway at the death but our attention now turns to Allianz Park where Munster will take on big, bad Sarries.

Murray Kinsella is there for us and will have reaction and a report on a whistle but we’ll go minute-by-minute here in the meantime. 

Saracens

15. Max Malins
14. Sean Maitland
13. Alex Lozowski
12. Nick Tompkins
11. Elliot Daly
10. Owen Farrell (captain)
9. Richard Wigglesworth

1. Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie George
3. Vincent Koch
4. Joel Kpoku
5. George Kruis
6. Nick Isiekwe
7. Ben Earl
8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements:

16. Tom Woolstencroft
17. Richard Barrington
18. Josh Ibuanokpe
19. Calum Clark
20. Jackson Wray
21. Ben Spencer
22. Manu Vunipola
23. Duncan Taylor

Munster:

15. Mike Haley
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Rory Scannell
11. Keith Earls
10. JJ Hanrahan
9. Conor Murray

1. James Cronin
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Billy Holland
6. Tadhg Beirne
7. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
8. CJ Stander

Replacements:

16. Kevin O’Byrne
17. Liam O’Connor
18. Stephen Archer
19. Fineen Wycherley
20. Jack O’Donoghue
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Dan Goggin
23. Tommy O’Donnell

Big news as the Reds skipper suffers a groin injury. 

JVG is looking focused, for what it’s worth: ‘We come here to win. It’ll be a massive challenge.’ 

Right, here we go. 

6Mins

First big opportunity of the game comes when Mike Haley fumbles the ball into touch deep in his own 22 after a testing Saracens kick.

9Mins

Haley redeems himself a bit almost immediately scrambling to make a challenge when Farrell clips a lovely cross-field kick. 

Farrell then opens the scoring with a penalty as Munster are pinged for an offside. 

11Mins

This is more bad news for Munster. 

Tadhg Beirne is down with a bad-looking ankle injury with a stretcher on the pitch. 

Tommy O’Donnell will come on. 

11Mins

Beirne gives the thumbs up as he’s wheeled away, sucking on oxygen. 

14Mins

Farrell puts the ball in the corner from a penalty and Sarries pile on the pressure. 

Moments later he does the same, after Munster interfere with George Kruis in the air.

As I type, the visitors are pinged again. 

15Mins

Massive Munster turnover with Jack O’Donoghue in the middle of it. Badly needed. 

19Mins

James Cronin gets over the ball and wins a turnover penalty. Donncha O’Callaghan, on co-comms, makes the point that Munster ‘have their homework done’ and are using different tackle techniques for different players. 

21Mins

Munster line up in a straight line behind a scrum. 

‘It’s a flying V from the might ducks’ says Donners.  They break left in the end and Conway is hit hard. 

24Mins

Munster are trying to pick their way through just feet from the line but Sarries are hlding firm for now!

24Mins

Murray skips a great pass out to Conway but he can’t find a way through. Haley is held up. Munster are camped out here. 

25Mins

Munster are held up and we’re going back for a penalty. Earls looked to be all on his own in space but Murray didn’t pick him out. Easy to say from here. 

26Mins

Penalty JJ Hanrahan makes no mistake and gets the visitors on the scoreboard.

27Mins

Stephen Larkham is interviewed from the coaches’ box. He says Munster knew ‘about Peter’s situation’ before the warm-up. 

29Mins

Brilliant defensive work from Keith Earls who grabs Wigglesworth’s arm as he tries to pass. Earls puffs his cheeks out after a TMO check; ‘black knock-on’.

31Mins

Penalty to Sarries for a high tackle from Conor Murray. Tough one. 

33Mins

Ooooh. Owen Farrell screws the kick just wide. 

36Mins

Mistake from Sarries. 

The hosts win a scrum penalty and again go for the corner but Elliot Daly kicks it dead.
 
41Mins

Into the last few moments of the first half…

That was enjoyable stuff, right? Munster are right in this obviously and looking good value so far.

What did you make of it?

41Mins

Owen Farrell gets us going again.. 

44Mins

Ben Earl bundles Keith Earls off the pitch after the Irishman had kicked down the line. Penalty to Munster. 

45Mins

Penalty – JJ Hanrahan makes it Saracens 3 Munster 6 as the light fades in London.  

50Mins

Moments after a big Munster chance goes begging, things get very tasty with the two sets of sides in wrestling with each other and the referee furiously peeping on his whistle. Jamie George seemed to have got offended at something initially. 

51Mins

Penalty to Munster: A decision goes against Owen Farrell for getting involved in the melee but Hanrahan misses from in front of the post. Massive.  

55Mins

Andrew Conway is off for a HIA as Dan Goggin is introduced. Stephen Larkham reminded us earlier, of course, that Munster only have two backs on the bench today. 

56Mins

That shemozzle seems to have turned the temperature up a bit and the crowd are celebrating every little victory; like that turnover.

We’re told, in the meantime, that a comment from the Munster sideline about Jamie George’s weight kicked off the incident. 

58Mins
It’s Munster’s turn to celebrate a little victory as Jean Kleyn does really well to hold up Saracens and the visitors are awarded a maul.
61Mins

We’re into the final quarter and Sarries are on the front foot with fresh likes Wray and Taylor on. Munster holding them up underneath the posts so far. 

63Mins

James Cronin pinged for offside and Sarries opt for the scrum. Pressure. 

65Mins

Another penalty for the home side as Munster are judged to be offside. This feels like a big moment. 

66Mins

Another scrum penalty and CJ Stander has a long chat with the ref. 

67Mins

That was coming. Billy Vunipola offloads to Sean Maitland and he gets in for a try in the corner. Owen Farrell with the conversion… 

67Mins

The England 10 drags the kick well wide. Two-point game then. 

72Mins

Sarries on the Munster line once more… 

74Mins

Saracens 15 Munster 6 Mako Vunipola powers over the line to put daylight between the sides and is then replaced. Farrell adds the extras with seven minutes to go. 

75Mins

Nick McCarthy is on with Conor Murray trotting off. And they’ve won a penalty advantage here as they search for a losing bonus point. 

76Mins

Munster put it in the corner. 

77Mins

Munster lose the ball! Sarries celebrate and will have a put-in to the scrum.

80Mins

Saracens win another turnover penalty, this time in midfield. There won’t be many more chances for the visitors and Munster will head home with nothing.

That decision to kick for the corner rather than the posts — and a bonus point — will be debated on the way back to Limerick. 

That was a physical, tough battle but Munster go home empty handed. 

What did you make of that? 

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