Sunday, April 11, 2010
Munster will play Biarritz in next months Heineken Cup semi final after the experienced Irish outfit beat Northampton Saints 33-19 at Thomond Park.
Doug Howlett scored twice while Paul Warwick and Jean De Villiers scored a try a piece. Jon Clarke scored for Saints as they shot to a 16-13 halftime lead, but some masterful kicking from Ronan OGara eventually kept them out the game.
OGara played a crucial role in the win despite not having his best kicking day as he kicked five out of his eight attempts. Munster coach Tony McGahan acknowledged the flyhalfs efforts as he wore down the Saints vigor.
"Ronan was fantastic - he was at his best with his game management," he said. "He controlled everything and that was a big part of our game. We needed him."
British & Irish Lions captain Paul OConnell wasnt available to play as he withdrew shortly before kick off with a groin problem, but the side managed without him.
"Relief is my initial reaction, especially after last week's result. The players were superb. We were very composed," said McGahan. "The forwards were tremendous as they have been under scrutiny all season. Following the loss of Paul we needed to step up to the mark and we did that. Mick O'Driscoll was excellent coming in for Paul," he added.
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