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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 May 2006, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Munster 23-19 Biarritz
Munster scrum-half Peter Stringer
Biarritz: (10) 19
Tries: Bobo
Cons: Yachvili
Pens: Yachvili (4)
Munster: (17) 23
Tries: Halstead, Stringer
Cons: O'Gara (2)
Pens: O'Gara (3)
Munster finally clinched the Heineken Cup with a thrilling victory over French champions Biarritz in Cardiff.

The Irish province, finalists in 2000 and 2002, answered an early try from Biarritz winger Sireli Bobo with two first-half scores of their own.

Centre Trevor Halstead and a stunning solo effort from Peter Stringer gave Munster a 17-10 buffer at the break.

Biarritz closed to within one point in an absorbing second half but Ronan O'Gara's third penalty sealed the win.

Munster, who have reached the tournament's knockout stages every year since 1998, lost previous finals to Northampton and Leicester and also crashed out in three semi-finals and two quarter-finals.

We've waited a long time for this - it was all about honesty out there today
Man-of-the-match Peter Stringer

But roared on by more than 50,000 of the 74,000 crowd, Munster were shell-shocked by the explosive start of two-time semi-finalists Biarritz.

Centre Philippe Bidabe's hand-off created the space and Sireli Bobo danced home controversially close to the touchline for the first try after two minutes.

Munster gradually recomposed themselves from the early battering and O'Gara settled the nerves with a penalty after 10 minutes.

The three points sparked a Munster renaissance and O'Gara spurned two kickable penalties to go for the corner, the second of which set up the platform for South African Halstead to wriggle over on the left after 16 minutes.

O'Gara converted but Biarritz levelled at 10-10 through Dmitri Yachvili's penalty when Munster prop Marcus Horan dropped a scrum inside his own 22.

On the half-hour mark, O'Gara again declined to go for the posts from the halfway line and instead pumped the ball into touch on the right, deep in Biarritz territory.

From an ensuing scrum 10 metres out, Stringer produced his moment of genius as he dummied left before scampering down the blindside past a flat-footed Serge Betsen to score.

O'Gara added the conversion and stroked another three points straight after the break.

But Biarritz stuck to the task and Yachvili's three penalties closed the gap to one point with 10 minutes left.

Another O'Gara penalty gave Munster some breathing space and captain Anthony Foley's men held out in a dramatic and rousing finale.

Munster: S Payne; A Horgan, J Kelly, T Halstead, I Dowling; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell; D Leamy, D Wallace, A Foley (capt).
Replacements: D Fogarty, F Pucciariello, M O'Driscoll, A Quinlan, T O'Leary, J Manning, R Henderson.

Biarritz: N Brusque; J-B Gobelet, P Bidabe, D Traille, S Bobo; J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; P Balan, B August, C Johnson, J Thion, D Couzinet, S Betsen, I Harinordoquy, T Lievremont (capt).
Replacements: B Noirot, B Lecouls, O Olibeau, T Dusautoir, M Carizza, J Dupuy, F Martin Arramburu

Referee: Chris White (Rugby Football Union)

Interview: Munster captain Anthony Foley

Interview: Munster Declan Kidney

Munster's mission
18 May 06 |  European Club
Munster desperate for final glory
17 May 06 |  European Club
August cleared after ERC bungling
05 May 06 |  European Club
Destiny not a factor - O'Connell
24 Apr 06 |  European Club
O'Connell expecting great final
23 Apr 06 |  European Club


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