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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 December, 2003, 20:25 GMT
O'Gara sinks Bourgoin
Ronan O'Gara kick Munster to victory in Bourgoin
Bourgoin 17
Tries: Chabal
Pens: Peclier 2
Dg: Peclier, Boyet
Munster 18
Pens: O'Gara 6

Bourgoin 17-18 Munster

Ronan O'Gara kicked Munster to another famous Heineken Cup victory on French soil to give the 2002 finalists a perfect start in Pool Five.

The Irish fly-half rattled off six penalties at the Stade Pierre Rajon to help erase the memory of two successive defeats in France last season.

But it was not easy going with a committed Bourgoin scoring a try through Sebastien Chabal, full-back Alexandre Peclier kicking nine points and Benjamin Boyet adding a dropped goal.

The last time the two teams met Bourgoin ran out convincing 21-6 winners on home soil five years ago - the last time Munster failed to qualify for the Heineken knock-out phases.

But a priceless away win at the start of their campaign proved they will again be a force to be reckoned with in Europe, particularly with O'Gara's boot in fine form.

"It's great when you've got someone like Ronan in your side. He very rarely misses and he was spot on again tonight," said Munster lock Donnacha O'Callaghan.

We kept our discipline and our defence was secure. This is another famous win in France for Munster
Donnacha O'Callaghan
"He is so professional in his approach and he never seems to worry about the pressure. It was great to see the hard work of the rest of the side being rewarded by his kicks."

In bitterly cold conditions, and with a passionate crowd urging them on, Bourgoin got the perfect start when impressive Peclier slotted over the opening penalty.

Ronan O'Gara was quick to respond two minutes later with his first penalty and the game remained deadlocked for the next 30 minutes.

When the scoreboard moved again it was O'Gara once more who was responsible. After putting in an inch perfect grubber kick over the home line, O'Gara was taken out as he gave chase.

Laussucq in action against Munster on Saturday night
Bourgoin scrum-half Christophe Laussucq (left) gets the ball
With the Munstermen looking to the Welsh international referee Nigel Whitehouse for the penalty try, the traffic policeman merely awarded a penalty which the fly-half converted.

From the kick-off, Peclier popped over a drop goal and two minutes later Boyet did likewise to put the home side ahead.

However, two more penalties either side of the break gave Munster the lead once more after good work by the Munster pack.

But Bourgoin forwards began to motor themselves and World Cup back-row man Chabal powered his way over for the only try of the game from close range.

Then Peclier landed a straight-forward penalty to give Bourgoin a 17-12 advantage.

But it was O'Gara who kept his cool to once again prove he is a match-winner with two beautifully-executed penalties to snatch the match for Munster.

Bourgoin: A Peclier; G Esterhuizen (A Forest 41), G Davis, F Fritz, J-F Coux; B Boyet, C Lassauq; W Bonet, J-P Bonrepaux (B Cabello 48), P Peyron, J Pierre, P Pape, A Bias, S Chabal, P Raschi (capt).

Munster: J Staunton (M Lawlor 70); J Kelly, M Mullins, J Holland (R Henderson 66), S Payne; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, P O'Connell, D O'Callaghan, J Williams (capt), D Wallace, A Foley.

Referee: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales).

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