Nevertheless, Munster got the win and their Heineken Cup campaign back on track. Munster shook off last weeks defeat in Kingsholm with some impressive moves and good recycling of the ball. However, Munster will have to look closely at the mistakes that they made to allow Perpignan score 3 tries, that could have been averted. Every time that Munster stretched the lead, they lost concentration and allowed Perpignan a chance to profit by scoring points.
It was Ronan O'Gara who had an excellent game for Munster who opened the scoring by kicking a penalty in the third minute (3-0). Unfortunately the lead was not to last, as five minutes later a drive by the perpignan pack setup a series of rucks which allowed the perpignan centre Manas bound through the Munster defence and touch down between the posts for a try, which Out Half Bellot converted. Munster 3 Perpignan 7.
Munster's pack continued to put good pressure on perpignan by driving and recycling play brilliantly. Munster were to get their first try following good pressure on the Perpignan line, a sweet pass out the line by O'Gara to Jason Holland, allowed to use his skillful hands to pop the ball to John Kelly who dived over the line, for a well orchestrated Munster try. O'Gara converted to give Munster a 10-7 lead.
About six minutes later, a move which Munster admit to practicing quiet a bit at training, saw Mick O'Driscoll take the ball from a lineout, hand down to Mick Galwey who popped the ball to a waiting Alan Quinlan, Quinnie proceeded to sneak around the front of the lineout, taking Perpignan unawares and storm in for a try that I am sure he and Gaffney have to be proud of. Again O'Gara converted, Munster 17 Perpignan 7.
The 26th minute gave Perpignan a chance to provide Munster with a slap in the face, Munster who were doing well to apply pressure on the opposition lost possession, and let the ball fall loose, Manny Edmonds was there to pick up, and sprint 70 meters without hassle, to run in a try which Bellot converted (17-14). However Munster did wake up and persisted to pressure Perpignan for the remainder of the first half.
Ronan O'Gara kicked off the second half scoring with a penalty to get a further 3 points. And superb vision by Peter Stringer in the 60th minute, lay the ball in the hands of John "The Bull" Hayes, who showed extreme agility to jink through the Perpignan defence and bully his way over the line for a fine try, which O'Gara converted. Munster 27 Perpignan 14.
O'Gara stretched that lead with his third penalty in the 70th minute, but once again Perpignan were lying in wait for Munster to slip up and it was another Munster mistake near the French line, which allowed Perpignan replacement Nicolas Laharrague to swoop on a loose ball and race 80 meters unaccompanied to the Munster line, Menues Edmunds converted taking the score to 30-21, Munster were able to hold onto their lead for the remainder of the game, and it ended in Thomond Park Munster 30 Perpignan 21.
Munster: Tries: Kelly, Quinlan, Hayes Pens: O'Gara 3 Cons: O'Gara 3
Perpignan: Tries: Manas, Edmunds, Laharrague Pens: Cons: Bellot 2, Edmunds
Man of the Match: Alan Quinlan
D Crotty; J Kelly, M Mullins, J Holland, M Lawlor; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, M Galwey, M O'Driscoll, J Williams (Capt), A Quinlan, A Foley.
Replacements: J Blaney, S Kerr, E Halvey, D Leamy, M Prendergast, J O'Neill, K Keane.
M Edmonds, Bomati, Couttet, Manas, Cermeno, Bellot, Basset, Peillard, Moreno, Mas, Alvarez Kairelis, Daniell, Mallier, Goutta, capt, Murphy.
Replacements: Rofes, De Besombes, Debaty, Deroeux, Laharrague, Sid, Marty.