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Munster Leave Themselves Too Much To Do

August 12, 2011 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

The 11,000 spectators – that included a good smattering of Munster fans – who turned up to the Stade Marcel Deflandre, not only produced a cracking atmosphere but also witnessed an entertaining encounter that resulted perhaps in a deserved 19-14 victory for the home side.

In total, 56 players were used and perhaps understandably, the game was littered with errors but nevertheless provided plenty of good rugby from both sides.

It certainly was a game of two halves, the home side enjoying the greater return and going in at half time leading 19-7.

The second half saw a much improved Munster performance and if skipper James Coughlan caught the eye in the opening half it was Peter O'Mahony who carried on the Dolphin man's mantle in the second.

Munster started brightly enough but the first time the home side got into the Munster 22 they emerged with a try when full back Benjamin Dambielle scored wide on the left.

Declan Cusack had an opportunity to reduce the deficit two minutes later but was wide from 30 metres and a difficult angle.

Neat footwork from La Rochelle 10 Sebastien Fauque ended in a try for centre Vincent Roux that Dambielle converted and the home side might have gone further ahead if the excellent Coughlan hadn't managed to block down Fauque's drop goal attempt.

Munster suffered further misfortune in the 28th minute as they pressed deep inside the home side's 22 only to see Maxime Lebourhis pick off a poor pass and race the length of the field for a seven pointer and a 19 point lead.

Munster eventually got on the board when Scott Deasy raced onto Simon Zebo's delicate kick-thru with Cusack adding the points to leave his side trailing by 12 at the break.

As had always been the intention, Tony McGahan rang the changes at half time replacing all his pack with the exception of Billy Holland and it was three of those replacements, Sean Scanlon, Niall Ronan and then Ian Keatley who manufactured Munster's second try.

Munster countered from inside their 22, Scanlon kicked downfield, Ronan made a marvellous steal and Keatley finished it off with the try and then added the extras.

The home side looked a little out on their feet in the final quarter as Munster pushed for the winning score but it was the unforced errors that in the end cost them dear although overall they'll be pleased with the exercise.

La Rochelle: B Dambielle; M Lebourhis, V Roux, J Jacquet, F Ninard; S Fauque, D Neveu; P Toderasc, F Pani, G Guyon; F Jacob, R Sazy; R Carmignani, P Som, T Soucaze. Replacements: B Geleden, T Leupolu, C Grobler, U Antonio, B Ferrou, I Rodriguez-Mudr, G Devade, S Clement, R Mohr, N Djebaili, A Vaeluaga-Toala, Q D'Aram De Valad, D Cler, S Barry, A Cestaro.

Munster: J Murphy; D Hurley, D Barnes (S Scanlon ht), S Deasy (JJ Hanrahan 52nd min), S Zebo; D Cusack (I Keatley ht), G Hurley (P Stringer ht); W du Preez (M Horan ht), D Varley (D Fogarty ht), S Archer (P Borlase ht); B Holland (M O'Driscoll 65th min) M O'Driscoll (I Nagle ht); D O'Callaghan (P O'Mahony ht), T O'Donnell (N Ronan ht), J Coughlan capt (P Butler ht).

B Dambeille 1 Try; 2 Conversions

V Roux 1 Try

M Lebourhis 1 Try

S Deasy 1 Try

D Cusack 1 Conversion

I Keatley 1 Try; 1 Conversion

B Dambielle; M Lebourhis, V Roux, J Jacquet, F Ninard; S Fauque, D Neveu; P Toderasc, F Pani, G Guyon; F Jacob, R Sazy; R Carmignani, P Som, T Soucaze. Replacements: B Geleden, T Leupolu, C Grobler, U Antonio, B Ferrou, I Rodriguez-Mudr, G Devade, S Clement, R Mohr, N Djebaili, A Vaeluaga-Toala, Q D'Aram De Valad, D Cler, S Barry, A Cestaro.
J Murphy; D Hurley, D Barnes (S Scanlon ht), S Deasy (JJ Hanrahan 52nd min), S Zebo; D Cusack (I Keatley ht), G Hurley (P Stringer ht); W du Preez (M Horan ht), D Varley (D Fogarty ht), S Archer (P Borlase ht); B Holland (M O'Driscoll 65th min) M O'Driscoll (I Nagle ht); D O'Callaghan (P O'Mahony ht), T O'Donnell (N Ronan ht), J Coughlan capt (P Butler ht).
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