Click here for photos from Munster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat of Perpignan at Lansdowne Road.
Pictured above: Perpignan’s France “A” scrum half Nicolas Durand runs out with his team mates at Lansdowne Road.
Perpignan assistant coach Philippe Ducousso said after the game: “We had a few different faults which cost us the game. It was critical that we started the second half well, but we didn’t. We handed them the match with those penalties. That was the really negative point – our indiscipline.
“To go down to 14 men twice, it made it very difficult for us on a game of such high stakes. Munster lost their control too though – you saw it at the end of the first half when we went 10-7 up – they were under pressure, but we couldn’t get a second try and that really counted against us. We’ll regroup now and focus on our main objective now – the (Top 14) championship.”
Munster captain Anthony Foley poses with mascot for the day Eoghan O’Connor before kick-off. A member of Abbeyfeale RFC in Limerick, Eoghan (aged 8) is a promising centre with the club’s Under-9 side. He lives in Knockbrack and is a second class pupil at St. Mary’s Boys’ National School. He lists his favourite player as Peter Stringer.
The Perpignan and Munster teams and Saturday’s match officials paid tribute to the recently-deceased Conrad O’Sullivan during a minute’s silence at Lansdowne Road. O’Sullivan, who died suddenly at his home in Cork last month, was a former Ireland Under-21 international and was capped by Munster in recent seasons. He was a well-liked figure in both club and provincial rugby circles, having played with UCC and most recently Cork Constitution. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends and the Irish sporting community at large. Ar dheis Di go raibh a anam.
Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan and Pat Whelan, a former manager of the Irish senior team, look on at Lansdowne Road.
Noted scrum half Tomas O’Leary, who lined out in the unusual position of outside centre, is the meat in the sandwich of a tackle from Perpignan’s Jean-Philippe Grandclaude and David Marty.
Munster centre Trevor Halstead is tackled by Perpignan’s Ovidiu Tonia and Rimas Alvarez Kairelis. The latter’s second row partner Nathan Hines reckons both Munster and Leinster are deserving semi-finalists.
The Scottish international said: “Munster have great forwards and their pressure game in awesome. They are going to put a lot of teams under pressure with the game they play. How many times do they make it scrappy, turn over a lineout, slow ball?
“I saw a little bit of the Leinster game but it’s obviously going to be a good all-Irish affair (in the semi-final) and anything can happen. There’s a long time to the final though and things can change. But these are two teams on form and they’ll be playing here (at Lansdowne Road), a pitch they both know well.”
Munster lock Donncha O’Callaghan goes on an early surge as Perpignan’s Gregory Le Corvec tries to bring him down. Saturday was O’Callaghan’s 35th Heineken Cup appearance since he made his tournament debut as a replacement against Pontypridd in November 1999.
**All photos by Tom Honan and Morgan Treacy of Inpho Photography**