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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 April, 2003, 21:20 GMT 22:20 UK
Munster end Leicester dream
Leicester 7-20 Munster

Leicester's Neil Back is tackled by Anthony Horgan of Munster
Leicester's Neil Back is tackled by Anthony Horgan of Munster
A storming second-half performance from Munster saw them gain revenge for their controversial defeat by Leicester in last year's final.

Neil Back's illegal but unpunished intervention at a Munster scrum in the dying minutes of that game can now be consigned to history by the Irish side.

This richly-deserved victory ended Leicester's hopes of a third straight Heineken Cup triumph.

The Tigers are a pale shadow of the side that has dominated the English and European game in recent years and turned in another error-strewn performance.

The enigmatic Austin Healey, in only his second game back from injury, was infuriatingly poor at fly-half and gave his back line poor service.

Leicester 7
Try: Booth
Cons: Stimpson
Munster 20
Tries: O'Gara, Stringer
Con: O'Gara 2
Pens: O'Gara 2

In contrast, Munster were tenacious in defence and increasingly potent in possession.

Their inspiration was fly-half Ronan O'Gara, who claimed 15 points, scoring a fine try and setting up half-back partner Peter Stringer for another.

The Irish side now travel away to Toulouse in the semi-finals and will not be daunted by the prospect after winning at a vociferous Welford Road.

All Dean Richards' Leicester have left to play for is a place in the much-maligned end-of-season play-offs.

The first-half had been a dire spectacle, dominated by the ball hitting the floor rather than going to hand and kicks being missed.

Leicester full-back Tim Stimpson missed three successive penalties and Ronan O'Gara landed only one of his four attempts.

But the second period was an altogether different affair. O'Gara kicked a second penalty after 53 minutes to put his side 6-0 ahead yet it was Leicester who were dominating possession.

They were a far more potent force when the powerful Adam Balding replaced Will Johnson in the back row and Harry Ellis stepped in at scrum-half.

Yet it was Munster who made more of their opportunities and scored their first try with 13 minutes to go.

Their forwards powered forward before the ball was transferred to Marcus Horan and then on to Stringer.

The diminutive scrum-half fed O'Gara, who fooled Martin Corry with a clever dummy and stretched over the line to score.

Munster put the result beyond doubt seven minutes later and O'Gara was again their inspiration.

He made a half-break in midfield and broke forward, feeding Alan Quinlan, who fed Stringer for the simplest of tries.


Leicester: Stimpson, Murphy, Lloyd, Tuilagi, Booth, Healey, Tierney, Freshwater, West, Garforth, M. Johnson, Kay, Corry, Back, W. Johnson.
Replacements: Chuter, Tournaire, Kronfeld, Balding, Ellis, Vesty, Tuilagi.

Munster: Staunton, Kelly, Mullins, Henderson, Horgan, O'Gara, Stringer, Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, Williams, Quinlan, Foley.
Replacements: Kerr, Blaney, M. O'Driscoll, Leamy, Malone, Keane, Crotty.

Referee: Nigel Williams (Wales).

Leicester coach Dean Richards
"We made a lot of errors"

Munster's Rob Henderson
"We've proven we're a great side today"

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