Munster hoped to overturn a first leg deficit against Exeter as they hosted the Premiership side in the Heineken Champions Cup at Thomond Park on Saturday.
The hosts trailed by five points after the first leg in Sandy Park a week ago. However, it was a Munster side that was effected by some late changes prior to kick-off.
Heading into the reverse fixture, though, Munster were boosted by the return from illness of Simon Zebo, as well as the return of their captain Peter O'Mahony.
While Exeter started off with intent, it was Munster that went out to an early lead through the boot of Joey Carbery.
However, the lead was short lived and Munster were dealt a double blow as Conor Murray was yellow carded for a cynical play inside his own 22m, and Sam Maunder crashed over to score.
Joe Simmonds could not convert, and Carbery added another penalty to regain the lead on the day.
It was all the flyhalf for the hosts in the opening half an hour. While Keith Earls helped get the hosts deep inside the Exeter half with an excellent break, it was Carbery who eventually crossed over the line by busting through the Exeter defence, with men outside him.
He did not need them, however, and he scored the try and converted it to extend their game day lead, and take the lead in the tie overall for the first time.
It's all Joey Carbery so far in this one | 🏉pic.twitter.com/5F96noyu1i
— The Rugby Channel (@rugbychannel15) April 16, 2022
The hosts held onto the lead for the remainder of the first half, in spite of Joe Simmonds getting a last-minute penalty attempt.
While the Thomond Park faithful were understandably vocal in support of their side at the break, one supporter in red caught the eye as it was none other than Exeter's injured Jack Nowell enjoying the sun in Limerick.
Something we never thought we'd see | 👀
Does Munster red suit Jack Nowell | 🤔 @VodafoneIreland | #TeamOfUs pic.twitter.com/YSmBZ79YTg
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) April 16, 2022
The tension ratcheted up in the second half, as Exeter were the first to score in the second half through a Jacques Vermeulen try in the 50th minute. It would not be converted, however it meant that Exeter regained the lead overall.
Munster were not going to be kept behind for long, though. Carbery added two penalties to extend their lead, before an excellent break from Simon Zebo was finished off by Damian de Allende for the try that all but sealed the win for the men in red.
That is world-class from Simon Zeebo 🤩@Munsterrugby work the ball out wide to their talisman keeping the width, who then finds Damian de Allende with an incredible back door offload ✨
Wonderful pass! 👏#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/v01AUd05yv
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 16, 2022
Carbery remained metronomic with the boot to take an 11-point lead into into the final five minutes of the two-legged tie.
Exeter could not manage to add anything else to the scoreline, and Munster joined Leinster in the quarter finals of the Champions Cup.
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