Munster have successfully steered themselves into the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup, although there was little or no celebrating in their dressing room after a lacklustre victory at Twickenham.
Despite winning their Pool, Munster will have to wait to see how other results come in before they find out if they will have home game in the last eight. That was the prize they craved and they knew they needed a bonus point on top of their victory to secure it. But two first-half tries were going to be enough to turn a victory into a five-pointer and they were left dreaming of what might have been.
A record crowd for a Pool match of 33,833 turned up to see if the Harlequins could upset the odds and the English side, who ended their Pool campaign without a victory, gave as good a s they got.
In fact, they took the lead with a penalty in the first minute from their Irish outside half Andy Dunne and then hit back with a try of their own after Munster wing Anthony Horgan had been cleverly released to score wide out on the right.
Paul Burke added the conversion to that Munster try, although the visitors were pleased to see Dunne miss with two reasonable penalty attempt in the space of three minutes shortly after. But better was to come for Quins 27 minutes in the half when their wing Ugo Moyne intercepted a Denis Leamy pass on the home 22 and sprinted clear for a try which Dunne converted. Leamy made amends for his error with a close range try with the last move of the first half to restore Munster s lead. But they were only able to manage two burke penalties in the second half as the Quins tough tackling and grappling in the loose turned it into an afternoon of frustration for the men in red
Munster (12) 18: Tries: Horgan, Leamy Cons: Burke Pens: Burke
Harlequins: (10) 10: Tries: Monye Cons: Dunne Pens: Dunne
Duffy, Keogh, James, Deane, Monye, Dunne, So'oialo, Jones, Tiatia, Dawson, Rudzki, Miall, Easter, Sherriff, Diprose.
Replacements: Dott, Muggridge, Winters, Molitika, Reay, Staunton, Williams.
Munster: Cullen, Payne, Mullins, Henderson, Horgan, Burke, Stringer, Horan, F. Sheahan, J. Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, Quinlan, Leamy, Foley.
Replacements: Flannery, McIlwham, Hogan, Williams, Prendergast, Holland, Lawlor.
Referee: J Jutge (France).