Thursday 19 April 2018

Painful Lesson on Road First Act of 15-year Rivalry with Perpignan

Heineken Cup - Touchlines

Mick Galwey
Mick Galwey
Sean O'Brien
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MUNSTER's most recent reference point for Sunday's clash with Perpignan is their back-to-back meetings with the Catalans in December 2009, but those with a longer memory will remember the formative years of this particular European rivalry.

The first of the clubs' meetings in the Heineken Cup came all the way back in 1998 when the teams met in front of a crowd of 5,000 at the Stade Gilbert Brutus and the hosts ran in six tries in a 41-24 win.

Centre Killian Keane scored 14 points for the visitors, who also scored tries through Barry Everitt and captain Mick Galwey. They learned their lesson for the return game at Musgrave Park a few weeks later as they won 13-5 and managed to qualify from the pool, only for eventual finalists Colomiers to beat them in the quarter-finals.

Perpignan 41 Munster 24, October 10, 1998

PERPIGNAN – G Bastide; A Joubert, D Plana, M Barrau, G Tutard; D Camberabero, J Basset; R Peillard, R Ibanez, S de Besombes; J Pradal, M James; P Firet, B Goutta, T Lievremont (capt).

MUNSTER – B Roche; J Kelly, K Keane, C Mahoney, A Horgan; B Everitt, P Stringer; P Clohessy, M McDermott, J Hayes; M O'Driscoll, M Galway (capt); A Quinlan, E Halvey, A Foley.

'TULLOW TANK' IN RED-HOT FORM – ON AND OFF TRACK

Twitter gets roundly criticised for all sorts of reasons, but it offers a window to our sports stars like nothing else.

For example, where else would you find a picture of an Ireland and Lions back-row dressed as a jockey aboard his sofa and then sharing it with the real professionals like Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell? Rugby would certainly be a lot duller without these little windows into Sean O'Brien's mind.

The human 'Tullow Tank' may not make it in racing as a jockey, but the eponymous horse he once owned is in real form and landed his first Grade One win for Danny Mullins, trainer Philip Fenton and owner Barry Connell last Sunday. You suspect if O'Brien wants the horse to keep winning, he might stick to the sofa.

TWEET OF THE DAY

@TommyBowe14

Annoying to have picked up another injury. Hopefully back in no time! Really appreciate all the messages

GATLAND THROWS LIONS HAT IN RING FOR 2017

Warren Gatland would be interested in leading the Lions for the second time when they tour his native New Zealand in 2017.

The 50-year-old guided the tourists to their first series win in 16 years as they crushed Australia in the final Test to claim a 2-1 overall triumph. That saw Gatland named coach of the year and high-performance coach of the year at the 2013 UK Coaching Awards in London on Tuesday night. Such was the effect on him of the Lions tour, Gatland would happily take the reins again – despite the criticism heaped on him after he dropped Brian O'Driscoll.

"It was an incredible experience," Gatland said. "To be involved, I was humbled and privileged. For me to go to New Zealand would be a great opportunity in 2017, but there is a huge amount of water to pass under the bridge before that."

NUMBER OF THE DAY

52 - Munster's meeting with Perpignan will be their 52nd clash with French opponents in the history of the Heineken Cup. They have won 67pc of their 51 games so far.

SHERIDAN WARNED HE MAY HAVE TO HANG UP BOOTS

Former England loosehead prop Andrew Sheridan may be forced to retire because of a neck injury, Toulon coach Bernard Laporte has warned.

Sheridan, who played in the 2007 World Cup final against South Africa and then toured with the Lions two years later, has a long-standing issue in the neck/shoulder area and suffered a fresh setback during Toulon's Top 14 match against Perpignan last month.

Now Laporte has revealed that the 34-year-old former Sale player has been ordered to rest for four weeks, after which doctors will assess whether he can return or will have to retire.

"He has always had a problem between his neck and his shoulder," revealed Laporte in a radio interview. "The surgeon has told him it's not necessary to have a new operation. He will now have a month of complete rest and, if the pain does not go away, he will have to stop playing."

Irish Independent

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