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Munster 24-23 Perpignan

Munster (12) 24
Pens: O'Gara 7 Drop: O'Gara
Perpignan (12) 23
Tries: Vivalda, Durand, Burger Con: Porical Pens: Porical, Mele



Munster fly-half Ronan O'Gara
O'Gara scored all of Munster's points at Thomond Park

Munster moved four points clear at the top of their Heineken Cup pool after Ronan O'Gara inspired them to victory over Perpignan in Limerick.

The sides were level at the break with Yoann Vivalda and Nicolas Durand scoring tries for Perpignan, while O'Gara fired over four penalties.

O'Gara kicked Munster 21-15 in front but David Mele's penalty and a superb Philip Burger try put Perpignan ahead.

But O'Gara had the final say as his late penalty clinched victory.

Munster set out their stall with an early penalty success from O'Gara, who was under considerable pressure to deliver after being dropped for Ireland's recent clash with South Africa.

But Perpignan powered back, profiting from an ill-advised Lifeimi Mafi kick from a pass back into the Munster 22.

The subsequent lineout was tapped down on the Munster side by Paul O'Connell, only for Vivalda to quickly gobble up the loose ball and charge over from 10 metres out.

Jerome Porical's missed conversion was followed by a drilled penalty from O'Gara but just three minutes later, the Catalan side were celebrating their second try.

Robins Tchale Watchou secured lineout possession outside the hosts' 22, hooker Guilhem Guirado sprung clear off a ruck and flanker Bertrand Guiry took the ball on before Durand outfoxed Doug Howlett with a superb step and run in at the left corner.

Porical added the conversion but was off target with a penalty from distance midway through what was a hard-fought first half.

Munster bossed territory for the duration but Perpignan's defence was largely watertight.

O'Gara's assured place-kicking - he knocked over four of his first five attempts - saw the 2006 and 2008 European champions draw level at half-time.

He punished Tchale Watchou for a ruck offence after 26 minutes, and four minutes before the break an impressive kick chase, with Howlett hammering Porical in the tackle, allowed O'Gara boot his side back on terms.

Perpignan opened the second half with great intent, David Marty and Farid Sid probing the wings and making headway towards the Munster 22.

606: DEBATE
gideonsaunders

O'Gara and Perpignan full-back Porical traded penalties, and hooker Denis Fogarty saved Munster by claiming a Durand cross-field kick as Perpignan pressed for a third try.

The visitors' dominant scrum and clever work off the breakdown caused plenty of problems for Tony McGahan's men, but again O'Gara came up trumps, landing a drop-goal and a penalty for a six-point lead with 16 minutes to go.

Replacement Mele converted a penalty to ensure a nervy finish for the home fans and Burger crossed for a superb 70th minute score.

The former Cheetahs player collected a kick from Paul Warwick outside the Perpignan 22 before using his pace to blast his way up the left touchline and outstrip Warwick and O'Gara for a sublime solo try.

Mele was narrowly wide with his conversion attempt and frustratingly for the Top 14 outfit, their good work was undone when Guiry caught Mafi with a high tackle and 24-point hero O'Gara did the rest with the resulting penalty.


Munster: P Warwick; D Howlett, K Earls, L Mafi, D Hurley; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; W du Preez, D Fogarty, J Hayes; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell (capt); A Quinlan, D Wallace, D Leamy. Replacements: D Varley, D Hurley, T Buckley, M O'Driscoll, D Ryan, N Ronan, P Stringer, J de Villiers.

Perpignan: J Porical; F Sid, D Marty, M Mermoz; C Manas; G Hume, N Durand; P Freshwater, G Guirado, N Mas (capt); O Olibeau, R Tchale Watchou; Y Vivalda, B Guiry, Y Parent. Replacements: M Tincu, J Schuster, K Pulu, C Geli, D Mele, J Grandclaude, P Burger, R Alvarez.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)



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see also
Munster 41-10 Treviso
17 Oct 09 |  Munster
Northampton 31-27 Munster
10 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup group-by-group guide
08 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2009/10
22 Dec 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
European rugby archive
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union


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