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Brive 37-42 Munster

Brive (20) 37
Tries: Uys, Estenabanez, Palisson, Perry Cons: Belie 4 Pens: Belie 3
Munster (19) 42
Try: Howlett 2, Earls 2, Stringer Con: O'Gara 4 Pens: O'Gara 3

Antoine Claassen and Keith Earls
Keith Earls scores a Munster try despite Antoine Claasen's efforts

Munster withstood a late fightback from Brive to set up a European Challenge Cup semi-final against Harlequins.

The Irish province outscored the French Top 14 club five tries to four to register a thrilling 42-37 away win.

Braces from Doug Howlett and Keith Earls, a try from replacement Peter Stringer and 20 points from Ronan O'Gara proved enough for Munster.

Retief Uys and Fabrice Estebanez scored first-half Brive tries with Shaun Perry and Alex Palisson adding late scores.

Despite being without injured talisman Paul O'Connell, Munster made a fast start with Howlett scoring a second-minute try after his own run had set up the initial attack.

After captain Ronan O'Gara's conversion, Munster put further daylight between the teams as Earls was allowed to run in for another try in the fifth minute.

Fly-half Mathieu Belie opened Brive's account with an 11th-minute penalty and he then converted South African lock Uys' try to cut Munster's lead to only two points.

Brive took a 17-12 lead as Estebanez broke through Sam Tuitupou's initial tackle before brilliantly holding off three more defenders to score.

But Munster responded with a superb counterattack started by Earls which was finished off by Howlett's second try after a looping Felix Jones pass.

O'Gara's conversion edged Munster ahead again but another Belie penalty put Brive 20-19 up at the break.

Belie increased Brive's advantage to four early in the second half but another sensational Howlett break set up Earls' second try of the day as Munster moved ahead again.

A wild Belie pass, which was spilled by full-back Scott Spedding, gifted Munster their fifth try with Stringer kicking ahead to score.

O'Gara kicked three more penalties to increase Munster's lead and Palisson's intercept try and replacement Perry's last-minute score came too late for the French outfit.

Brive: Spedding, Namy, Noon, Estebanez, Palisson, Belie, Figuerola, Kinchagishvili, Cabello, Cardinali, Dubarry, Uys, Vosloo, Claassen, Le Devedec.

Replacements: Lespinas for Namy (12), Perry for Estebanez 72, Kakovin for Kinchagishvili 49, Bonrepaux for Cabello 49, Barnard for Cardinali 49, Mela for Dubarry 53, Azoulai for Le Devedec 61.
Not Used: Domingo.

Munster: Jones, Howlett, Mafi, Tuitupou, Earls, O'Gara, Murray, du Preez, Varley, Buckley, D. O'Callaghan, O'Driscoll, Leamy, Wallace, Coughlan.

Replacements: J Murphy for Tuitupou 53, Stringer for Murray 49, Horan for du Preez 53, Sherry for Varley 56, J Hayes for Buckley 59, Ronan for Wallace 67, D Ryan for Coughlan 60.
Not Used: Warwick.

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see also
Harlequins 32-22 Wasps
08 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Injury forces Dowling retirement
05 Apr 11 |  Munster
O'Connell suffers ligament damage
04 Apr 11 |  Munster
Munster 24-23 Leinster
02 Apr 11 |  Munster
Munster 28-14 London Irish
22 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Toulon 32-16 Munster
16 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union

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