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Major Blow For Munster As Mathewson Doubt For Exeter Clash

Munster Alby Mathewson Chris Farrell

Munster will be sweating on the fitness of their newly-installed scrum-half, Alby Mathewson as he looks to be an injury doubt ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup opener against Exeter on Saturday.

The New Zealander, who was brought in by the club as cover for the injured Conor Murray, suffered a leg injury in the 30-22 loss to Leinster in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday and was replaced by Duncan Williams after 74 minutes.

Head coach, Johann van Graan confirmed that the 32-year-old was forced off through injury and will be monitored throughout the week.

“A lot of bumps and bruises”, he replied when asked about post-match casualties. “Alby Mathewson, we took off because of an injury. Our medical team are currently looking at him and hopefully, we will know more on Monday.”

Leinster enjoyed the ideal start to the game as Keith Earls was sin-binned by referee, Ben Whitehouse for a tackle on James Lowe as the explosive winger looked set to score a try. The decision resulted in a penalty try for the reigning PRO14 champions who quickly followed it up with a second seven-pointer, this time, nothing preventing Lowe from crossing. The visitors found themselves 14-0 down after just 16 minutes.

But to their credit, Munster fought back. Tadhg Beirne crossed for his first try for the province and while Joey Carbery was unsuccessful with the conversion, it wasn’t long before they were over again courtesy of CJ Stander. The 22-year-old nailed his second attempt and Munster had brought the game back to just two points.

Despite this being as close as they got to the hosts, van Graan insisted that he was “proud” of the fighting spirit displayed by his team.

“I’m very proud of my team. We came back against a team that has not lost here since 2015, I believe. I thought we were right in it with those three or four scrums on their goal-line, getting penalty after penalty. I thought we really stuck to our guns tonight. We stayed calm and I thought we played some brilliant rugby out there tonight. We want to improve as a team and I thought we did that tonight.”

“Unfortunately, we came against a team that are possibly one of the best sides in the world. All credit to them and I thought some of their individuals were fantastic. Someone like James Lowe had a fantastic game. All credit to Leinster for beating us tonight.”

 

 

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Author: Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter