Despite a strong second half performance, Munster came up short in the Stade Marcel Deflandre this evening when they went down three tries to two for a 19-14 defeat to La Rochelle.
At one stage in the first half they trailed by 19 points, went in at the break down 19-7 but enjoyed the better of the second half exchanges that yielded the only try of that half from Ian Keatley.
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 (I Nagle ht), M O'Driscoll; D O'Callaghan (P O'Mahony ht), T O'Donnell (N Ronan ht), J Coughlan capt (P Butler ht).