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 Saturday, 11 January, 2003, 15:53 GMT
Munster lose out to Perpignan
Munster and Ireland number 8 Anthony Foley
Anthony Foley scored Munster's lone try
Heineken Cup, Pool 2:
Perpignan 23-8 Munster



Munster have it all to do to qualify from this year's pool stage after going down to Perpignan at the Stade Aime Giral on Saturday.

If last season's defeated Heineken Cup finalists lose to Gloucester at Thomond Park next Saturday, they miss out on topping Pool 2.

However, they should go through to the knock-out stages as one of the two best runners-up because of their 23 tries.

Munster coach Alan Gaffney admitted his side had been out-thought and out-fought.

We rushed things and panicked at crucial times

Munster coach
Alan Gaffney
"Perpginan were by far the better side today," said Gaffney.

"We thought we had a shot in the first half, but we were very disappointed with the second half.

''The boys knew what they had to do - we knew what to expect.

"We should have been patient and build phases, but we rushed things and panicked at crucial times.''

The French side took full advantage of the wind at their backs in the opening half, scoring twice in two minutes to take a valuable five-point lead into the break.

Perpignan fly-half Manny Edmonds and opposite number Ronan O'Gara swapped penalties as the teams sorted themselves out early on before the home side moved up a gear.

With Munster captain Jim Williams in the bloodbin, the French side tapped a penalty and drove into Irish territory.

From the ruck, and a neat kick by full-back Jean-Marc Souverbie Frederic Cermeno beat Munster full-back Jeremy Staunton to the ball.

Scrum-half Ludovic Loustau set up the his side's second try when he delivered a clever scissor pass to centre partner Giordani, who ran 20 metres untouched to score.

Match details:
Perpignan 23 (13)
Tries: Cermeno, Giordani, Le Corvec, Alvarez Kairelis
Pen: Edmunds

Munster 8 (3)
Tries: Foley
Pens: O'Gara

Munster hit back and camped on the French line for the remainder of the half and deservedly replied with a line-out drive and touchdown by number 8 Anthony Foley.

A piece of strong scrummaging in the 64th minute ruined Munster's day when fresh legs in the front five proved too much for the Munster flanker Gregory Le Corvec dived over.

Munster pressured the Perpignan line but could not come up with the crucial points to save the match.

Perpignan had the final say, with lock Rimas Alvarez-Kairalis slotting into the scrum at number eight and driving over in the final minute in a carbon copy of Le Corvec's effort.


Munster: J Staunton; J Kelly; M Mullins, J Holland, M Lawlor; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, M O'Driscoll, D O'Callaghan, J Williams, capt, A Foley, A Quinlan.
Replacements: J Blaney, M Cahill, M Galwey D Leamy, M Prendergast, K Keane, C McMahon.

Heineken Cup

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