Munster 24 – Perpignan 23

Munster win by the narrowest possible margin

Despite having better-quality possession for most of the game, Munster couldn’t capitalise on it and managed to score no tries whatever, eventually gaining their winnning 24 points courtesy of Ronan O Gara’s kicking, including an exceptional left-footed drop goal.

Just as well he was back on form.

Munster decided to gift the visitors two soft tries in the first quarter, in case anyone felt like relaxing.

The game was Munster’s to throw away, which they nearly did in the final minutes  when they handed Perpignan a gap for Burger to run through in an astounding burst of speed to score a third try.

Munster looked more composed than Perpignan for most of the game, but couldn’t manage to get a proper platform going to produce tries.

It didn’t help that Wayne Barnes reffed the game like somebody on the French payroll, awarding three penalties for infringements in the scum, including one against John Hayes for not pausing properly despite not being able to see the player, and another for the Munster front row popping up even though the Perpignan players did exactly the same thing at the same time.  He somehow overlooked a French player’s attempt to break Keith Earls’s arm by stamping on it, and to round off a shameful display, he disallowed a perfectly legal try from Denis Hurley, resulting in the thinnest possible margin in the closing minutes.

All in all, a disappointing outcome.  Perpignan went home with a losing bonus point, while Munster failed to clock up even one try.

Perpignan in their own stadium next week will not be easy.

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Seconds Out says:

The most prolific points scorer in the history of the European Cup put the boot into his critics with a clinical display at Thomond Park last night as Munster edged out French champs Perpignan in Limerick.

On an evening  when Munster fans were checking their health insurance subscriptions to see if they were covered for triple, open heart bypass surgery, Ronan O’Gara kicked all 24 points.

The Reds fly half also fired over a drop kick – with his weaker left foot. He can box southpaw as well!

Friday’s win, achieved without star signing Jean de Villiers who was dropped, lifted the Reds four points clear of the French at the summit of Pool 1. Both sides meet again in France next weekend.

A win in that game and Munster will almost certainly qualify for the quarter finals of the European Cup for the twelfth year in succession.

However, Perpignan, who secured a bonus point last night – it was the least they deserved –  served notice that it will take a mammoth effort from Munster to beat them in their own back yard.

Showing superb handling skills – Thierry Henry is their forwards coach – the French club scored two tries in the opening quarter as Yoann Vivalda and Nicholas Durand reduced Thomond Park to a state of collective anxiety as the visitors insisted on playing the part of some sort of  Catalan Grinch.

However, O’Gara’s metronomic right boot arrowed over four penalties to restore parity at 12-12 at half time.

And he nailed another three kicks and a drop goal after the interval to secure a crucial win for the hosts.

But it was touch and go in the final quarter as Philip Burger ran in a superb try with ten minutes remaining. Fortunately, as it turned out, David Mele missed the conversion – by inches.

Good man David!

The French paid the  price for indiscipline in the final few minutes when Bertrand Guiry caught caught Mafi with a high tackle.

O’Gara did the rest, dissecting the posts to leave the Reds in pole position and their fans, – those still in possession of a heart beat that is –  in a state of triumphant, if slightly nervous exhaustion.

13 thoughts on “Munster 24 – Perpignan 23

  1. They’ll find it hard to win over there next weekend, a bonus point would be more than useful however. I
    reckon the Norhthampton game in Thomond Pk in late January will decide it. Munster should be in a position where their destiny is in their own hands for that one.

  2. Ref. played a blinder Bock. Reckon the French have gone home majorly pissed at him.

    Just after yer man stood on Keith Earls arm and it was bandaged, a fella was concerned as to the way he was carrying it, only to be quickly told ” he’s grand, that’s the way they all walk in Moyross”

    Anyone hear that shout of ” Henry, you motherficker” as the French outhalf was preparing to take his 1st kick ?

    Dined heartily on stone cold cocktail sausages in the North Star on the wrong way home afterwards.

    You all know of course that SRFC rose from the ashes again this afternoon agaiinst those men from Clontarf. Just mentioning like.

    And my punditry skill has now reached those stellar heights experienced during an inglorious failed career as a coarse rugby domestique,

  3. Thanks Sniffle. Does this mean we can disregard all future predictions from you?

    Oh and well done to SRFC. Unfortunately, Bruff RFC squandered an unassailable lead to make a complete bollocks of a certain win, or so my contacts tell me.

  4. Yes, yes, consult Wanda the witch or that mad fella who marches round the town , consult these poeple first. Their opinions are sounder and more credible then mine .

  5. Ah, but you’re more fun.

    Will we ask Bishop Murray, now that he’ll probably be looking for a job? Pundit wanted. Infallibility not essential.

  6. Hi Bock, have you got a larger / full size copy of mp023.jpg that you could put up somewhere for us please?
    Please feel free to delete this comment afterwards!

  7. I think we can win next week. We gave away a few soft tries on Friday night. They are not long back from international duty. A weeks work on the training ground together will make all the difference. More often than not we play French opponents away from home first and have always adopted a cautious approach, waiting to get them back to Thomond. This year we were at home first and have points in the bag, we can give it a right lash next week. DeVilliers to start to punch holes down the centre. Munster to win.

  8. I bumped into a knowledgeable man last night who pointed out that Mafi and Earls are not temperamentally suited to play together at centre because they both need leadership. Therefore your choice of deVilliers would make sense.

  9. I read recently that Munster and Perpignan have met six times, Munster won five – not bad for an academy team – that stat could be met seven times, Munster winning six now.

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