Here is everything you need to know about the United Rugby Championship match between the Munster and the Lions on Saturday at Musgrave Park in Cork.
Overall head-to-head United Rugby Championship record: Played once, Lions won once.
STATISTICS AND FACTS: – Munster lost to the Lions away in Johannesburg in March 2022.
— Historically a significant beneficiary of home advantage, Munster have lost two of their past three matches at Thomond Park, albeit to top-three teams Leinster and Ulster.
The Lions have lost their last two games but have won more games away from Johannesburg than at home this season.
Gavin Coombes and Alex Kendellen, two formidable ball carriers from the Munster back row, carried the ball more than any other players in Round 11, totaling 26 and 20 respectively.
— Last weekend, both Jean Kleyn and Jack O’Donoghue stole lineouts, but teammate and captain Peter O’Mahony has stolen more than any other player this season (eight).
Jack O’Donoghue (18), Niall Scannell (14), and Tadh Beirne (13) are the URC players with the highest number of guard tackles. Beirne has also caused more trouble at rucks than any other player (28).
– No forward has beaten more defenders than Emmanuel Tshituka (21).
The only player in the league to have kicked three 50/22s is Sanele Nohamba. In addition, ten of his kicks have been retained.
— Hard-headed core Marius Louw has made the most effective tackle contacts of any player (14). However, in his pursuit of the big play, he has missed the most tackles in the URC (25).
The last time these teams met, the Lions prevailed in Johannesburg against Munster, who were separated by only three points in the standings.
In addition, despite the fact that Munster have always benefited greatly from home advantage, they have lost two of their past three matches at Thomond Park, albeit to Leinster and Munster. The Lions may be on a two-match losing streak, but they have won more games on the road than at home this season.
The physicality of the Munster rugby team is a defining characteristic. Gavin Coombes and Alex Kendellen carried the ball more than any other back row players in Round 11 with 26 and 20 carries, respectively. On the other side of the ball, the Limerick team has defended the perimeters with ferocity.
Jack O’Donoghue (18), Niall Scannell (14), and Tadh Beirne (13) are the URC guards with the most tackles. Beirne has also caused more opponent breakdowns to be disrupted than any other player, 28.
The son of a former Springbok will make his Lions debut.
The Munstermen are also vicious in set-piece situations. Last weekend, both Jean Kleyn and Jack O’Donoghue made lineout steals, but teammate and captain Peter O’Mahony has made more than any other player this season (eight).
Even if they have not exactly clicked so far this season, the Lions have a plethora of star-caliber players. This is exemplified by the tenacious center Marius Louw. He has made more dominant tackle connections than any other player (14) yet has missed the most tackles in the URC by looking for the big hit (25).
However, Emmanuel Tshituka has been the Lions’ most effective attacker, having beaten more defenders than any other forward (21). Sanele Nohamba is the only player in the league to have kicked three 50/22s and 10 kicks which have been retained. He is also the only player to have dominated field position for his team by kicking ten kicks which have been retained.