Champions Cup draw sets up shot at revenge for Munster

·3-min read
Munster missed out on a place in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-final as they lost on penalties to Toulouse
Munster missed out on a place in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-final as they lost on penalties to Toulouse

Munster have the opportunity to avenge their dramatic EPCR European Cup quarter-final defeat to Toulouse this year, with the two sides drawn against one another in Pool B, writes Sportsbeat's Josh Graham.

Toulouse edged the nail-biting penalty finale, after the scores remained level at 24 a piece after extra time.

Munster also face Premiership semi-finalists Northampton Saints home and away, to complete a mouth-watering set of fixtures in this year’s Champions Cup.

Former France international Benjamin Kayser is thrilled by the prospect of a grudge rematch saying: “It’s two incredible teams on world rugby’s club stage.

“Toulouse will always be Toulouse and always be a threat and exciting.

“Munster are an absolute powerhouse of Irish rugby and those are the match-ups you want to see and that get me excited!

2021 champions Toulouse went on to lose in the semi-finals 40-17 to another Irish side in Leinster and will be fiercely determined to set the record straight this year.

Kayser said: “I think Toulouse will have a bit of a chip on their shoulder because after winning the double, this year was a bit of a struggle for them.

“They lost a lot of energy in the battle having so many guys committed to the France Grand Slam but they will rest up and use those extra weeks to regather some energy and go full tilt next year.

“I think Toulouse, whenever they get angry, do not get in their way. It’s not like they’ve lost any players and they’ve been tremendous in the last few seasons.

“You give those boys a few extra weeks of holiday and they can be lethal.”

The 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup will be the most exciting yet.

With the inclusion of South African clubs, there will be new rivalries between clubs who have never played each other and Kearney is thrilled by their introduction.

“I think it’s brilliant for the competition. I think everyone’s really excited to come and see them finally join this competition.

“Of course, they bring a huge amount of size and power, which is something we know the French do already.

“But having that added dimension of the South African teams doing it too is going to make this a much more difficult competition to win.

“I think for us as supporters and fans that’s ultimately what we want to see. I think it’s fantastic that they’re joining and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they fare.”

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the tournament organiser for the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup, featuring the very best club rugby teams from England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and – for the first time from the 2022/23 season – South Africa.

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