URC champions Munster have confirmed they will host Super Rugby Pacific winners the Crusaders in a world first ‘Clash of Champions’ in February.
Graham Rowntree’s side toppled the Stormers in South Africa to claim a famous URC title win last season after stunning regular season table-toppers and provincial rivals Leinster in the semi-final thanks to Jack Crowley’s drop goal.
Scott Robertson’s Crusaders secured their seventh successive Super Rugby triumph after overcoming the Chiefs 25-20 in Hamilton. To add even more spice to the inaugural ‘Clash of Champions’, Robertson is departing to coach the All Blacks after the World Cup and former Munster boss Rob Penney will be the new man in charge in Christchurch.
The fixture is scheduled for Saturday 3 February which clashes with the opening weekend of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations. However, Ireland are not in action as Andy Farrell’s side open the tournament on the Friday night away in France.
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It is the first time the winners of Super Rugby and the URC have ever faced off. Penney will also take charge of the Crusaders against Bristol as part of their European pre-season tour.
Munster Rugby CEO, Ian Flanagan said: “We are delighted to welcome the Super Rugby champions to Munster, hosting a groundbreaking fixture against the Crusaders.
“We hold a proud and rich history of playing touring sides and I’ve no doubt next February’s game will be a special occasion for all involved.”
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Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO, added: “The Crusaders are thrilled to be coming over to Ireland and the UK to face some stiff competition away from home.
“NZ and Australian clubs have been working on the World Club Competition for years, so when an opportunity for Super teams to play Northern Hemisphere counterparts came up, it was just too good to pass up.
“Munster have a history of giving touring sides a pretty hard time, so they present particularly tough competition. There’s also the added connection with our new Head Coach Rob Penney who coached there.”
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