As it Happened: Saracens 19-13 Munster

Updated: Sunday, 16 Dec 2012 19:07

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Relive Munster's 19-13 Heineken Cup Pool 1 defeat to Saracens at Vicarage Road, with Tadhg Peavoy's text commentary.

By Tadhg Peavoy

Twitter: @TPeavoy #rterugby


Facebok: RTErugby


Saracens 19-13 Munster
Toulon 62-0 Sale Sharks
Castres 10-8 Glasgow


That's all the Heineken Cup action for this weekend. Pretty rubbish from an Irish perspective with four defeats from four outings. But Ulster are still in control of their group and Leinster and Munster can still salvage qualification. It's not all bad!

A Munster report will follow on the site shortly here.

As always, thanks for reading. See y'after.


In the day's third game, potential Heineken Cup contenders Toulon have devastated Sale Sharks at Stade Félix Mayol with a 62-0 scoreline.

Tries from Orioli (30), Michalak (36), Van Niekerk (45, 66), Kubriashvili (50), SE Armitage (57), DA Armitage (61), Wulf (74) and Smith (79), as well as six  conversions and a penalty from Michalak, and a conversion from Wilkinson, won it for the French side. What a statement of their intent.



Saracens were just too good for Munster in the close forward battle, and  Farrell got the better of O'Gara from the boot today.

Munster are still right in a very close pool, but must defeat Edinburgh away and Racing at home to have any chance of making the quarter-finals.




81 mins: Sarries lineout: Kruis wins at four in the line, the ruck is set and De Kock kicks the ball to touch. The full-time whistle sounds. Munster are defeated.


80 mins: Scrum Saracens again: Gauzere calls penalty to Sarries as Munster are deemed to have stood up early. Farrell boots the penalty to touch.


79 mins: Archer on for Munster in place of BJ Botha.


79 mins: Scrum Saracens: the packs stand up and the scrum must be reset.


78 mins: Munster attack again and go wide right with Howlett, then switch up the middle with Ryan and Butler. Murray feeds right to Laulala and the second centre knocks on as he tries to offload to Howlett.



The lineout is won and a kick launched at Munster. The Irish province counter and once more Munster are penalised for holding on at the breakdown. This time Zebo is the offender as he gets isolated from his support. Farrell, from wide left, on the Munster 22, slots the penalty kick.

Saracens 19-13 Munster


75 mins: Farrell boots the penalty to touch.


74 mins: Scrum Saracens: the English club win it and Munster are penalised - penalty Saracens.


73 mins: O'Gara launches a garryowen which is missed by Barritt. Munster seize on it and Sherry loses the ball as he goes to ground. Saracens were open to being devoured their. Two big chances for Munster scores gone in the last few plays.


73 mins: Sherry finds his man in the lineout and at the next ruck Stevens is penalised for not rolling away. Penalty Munster. From left of goal, 40m out, O'Gara fires an effort at goal, and pulls it to the near, left post. That was a bad and possibly crucial miss.


72 mins: Horan is on for Du Preez.


71 mins: Sarries kick to touch inside their own half.


70 mins: Munster lineout: Sherry hits Donncha O'Callaghan again. Murray feeds Howlett joining the line in the centre. O'Gara lauches a crossfield kick towards O'Dea, but Wyles gets under it to claim a mark.


69 mins: Munster lineout: Sherry finds Donncha O'Callaghan. Munster again bash it forward at Wyles. He claims but Howlett bashes him into touch.


69 mins: Brit throws over the top to Brown, De Kock kicks to touch.


68 mins: The kick is bashed to touch by the Saracens outhalf. Sherry finds Donncha O'Callaghan, the ball is spun out to O'Gara. He chips to the Saracens left corner. Brilliant.


67 mins: Sarries kick deep to Munster. The kick is returned and Farrell claims a mark in the 22.


67 mins: Butler is on for O'Mahony.


66 mins: Munster put 18 phases together as Du Preez again goes forward. BJ Botha follows him. O'Mahony carries hard. Twenty-two phases now as Munster edge inside the Saracens 22. O'Gara goes for the  drop-goal but pushes the kick wide right.


65 mins: Dave O'Callaghan makes a charge. Munster go wide to Laulala.  O'Dea leaves his wing and joins the line.


64 mins: O'Gara carries in the centre, then Du Preez does likewise. They spread to Howlett on the right flank. Saracens defend with pride.


63 mins: O'Gara kicks the penalty to touch. Sherry finds Ryan at two in the line. The Munster pack maul it, before O'Callaghan breaks on a peel from the back. Sherry carries next. Munster are five metres from the Saracens try-line. Sherry carries again, with Brown and De Kock tackling.


62 mins: Sarries win the lineout and Wigglesworth boxkicks long. Munster receive and Howlett is caught with an arm to the face by Fraser. The Saracens man is sin-binned.


61 mins: O'Gara receives from Murray and the outhalf launches a massive  kick to touch downfield.



Sarries win the lineout and Farrell is smashed in the tackle by Laulala. Sarries retain and Brits and Botha carry before offloading to Kruis. A penalty is called for Saracens as Munster fail to roll away at the breakdown. From the Munster 10-metre line, just left of the sticks, Farrell goes for goal. He gets it, Saracens lead again.

Saracens 16-13 Munster


57 mins: Sarries spread the ball to Barritt and Tomkins, it's chipped ahead to Zebo. He scoops the ball up and boots to touch.



Again the scrum collapses and Gauzere calls a penalty in favour of Saracens. From in front of the posts, just outside the 22, Farrell slots it over.

Saracens 13-13 Munster


55 mins: Munster scrum near their own try-line. Munster have played 0% of the second half in the Saracens 22 in the second half so far. The scrum collapses and must be reset.


54 mins: Sarries try to spread wide left but Farrell knocks-on, a very poor pass from De Kock the cause of that one.


54 mins: Sarries lineout: they win and De Kock and Vunipola drive at Munster.


53 mins: Sarries pounce on O'Gara's error and attack the Munster 22. Farrell pops outiside his should to Brown. Farrell pops to the right corner for Strettle to chase, but Zebo is there to cover and is pulled into touch.


52 mins: Saracens field a high ball and Ashton carries up the centre. Goode plays an up-and-under and O'Gara knocks on the catch.



O'Gara decide to go for goal. From wide left, on the 10-metre line, he nails it perfectly. Munster lead.

Saracens 10-13 Munster


50 mins: Murray puts in again, the Irish pack win and Coughlan picks and goes and Murray kicks long. Ashton claims and gets done for holding on at the ruck. Penalty Munster.


49 mins: Scrum Munster on their 22. Murray puts in and the scrum collapses and must be reset.


48 mins: Sarries win a lineout and Vunipola carries twice for Sarries. Stevens takes it up the middle. The English side are on the Munster 22 and Brits knocks on.


46 mins: Ping pong ensues in the air and Zebo takes a classy high catch.  The ball is then bashed into touch by Sarries. Munster lineout: O'Mahony takes but then drops the egg and Botha gets down on the loose ball. Sarries go at Munster but they then lose it forward and Murray boxkicks to touch.


45 mins: Farrell miskicks from the 22, right of posts, he puts wide of the near post.


44 mins: Borthwick claims the lineout and Sarries maul towards the Munster line. Sarries spread wide and Zebo comes up to intercept but can't quite hold it. Wouldn't have counted anyway though as Gauzere calls a penalty back on the other side for Saracens. Farrell will go for goal.


43 mins: Saracens win the lineout and Ashton now kicks with aplomb. He places a superb kick right into the Munster corner and Zebo must kick it out.



Just searched for Munster in Twitter to find some gems of wisdom on the first half at Vicarage Road. However, the most interesting thing I could find was this sandwich involving Munster cheese.


42 mins: Munster win the lineout and Murray boots long and to touch in the Saracens half.


41 mins: Action is back underway in Watford. Brits takes a high ball and carries to contact. Wigglesworth chips ahead and the ball ends in touch.


An excellent match so far. A try, conversion and penalty a piece with close personal battles all over the park. This one is shaping up for a classic second half. Munster need to match their English opponents with grunt up front and be solid in defence, while hoping for a spark of creativity from the backline. Easy? I think not.





41 mins: O'Gara takes the 22 drop-out for Munster. It's very deep where Farrell receives. He returns a garryowen and Zebo claims it. Murray breaks up the left and O'Gara pops the ball into touch for half-time.


40 mins: Farrell goes for goal with the penalty kick. From wide left, inside the Munster 22, he pushes it inches to the right of the posts.


39 mins: Gauzere tells Borthwick and Howlett to tell their players to watch the fisticuffs.


38 mins: Sherry hits O'Mahony in the lineout and Murray snipes at Sarries. Munster lose the ball at a ruck in the Sarries 22. The English side break left and Strettle kicks ahead where Zebo cleans up and goes to contact. He is done for holding on - penalty Saracens in the Munster 22.


38 mins: O'Gara kicks the penalty to the corner.


37 mins: O'Mahony is down where the penalty was awarded and is receiving attention.


37 mins: Penalties conceded: Saracens 6-3 Munster.


36 mins: Munster lineout: Shery finds O'Callaghan at four. Munster maul it forward. Saracens come in the side and it's a Munster penalty.


36 mins: O'Gara boots the penalty to halfway.


35 mins: Farrell boots the penalty to touch and Sarries win the ball. But they can't use it at the next ruck and Munster are awarded a penalty.


34 mins: Sarries lineout in their own half: Kruis wins it and Sarries break up the centre with a linebreak from Tomkins. Sarries are into Munster's 22 and go wide left to Strettle, he is pushed into touch, but a penalty is called back for Sarries. 


33 mins: Ashton knocks on under pressure and the ball is hacked along the surface into the Sarries half, Goode is there to clean up and boot at Munster. O'Gara returns the kick to touch.


33 mins: Goode and Brits carry forward at Munster. Stevens does likewise. Ashton, Barritt and Tomkins link up out right. Botha makes some good ground on a pick and go.


32 mins: Munster lineout: Ryan takes despite good pressure from Borthwick. Murray boxkicks long and Strettle claims it.


31 mins: Munster receive and Zebo runs it back. The ball is knocked foward and Strettle takes to contact. Sarries go wide right from Barritt to Fraser. Borthwick and Stevens carrie hard at Munster and Farrell pops a grubber kick to the Munster corner.


30 mins: Sarries win the lineout and Farrell kicks long to Howlett. Munster set the ruck and Murray kicks long at Sarries. Wigglesworth touches down for a 22 drop-out.


29 mins: Ryan wins at two, off the top ball is spun wide and Downey takes a crash ball at 12. Sarries turn over and boot back to Munster. O'Gara is there to claim and kick for the Sarries corner. Excellent.


28 mins: Zebo takes a high ball from Sarries, but he comes down from the air as Murray and Brits clash on the turf below him. Gauzere calls a penalty against Brits, very harsh on the Sarries hooker. O'Gara boots to touch.



Sarries win the scrum and Wigglesworth breaks down the right. Sarries recycle and go left, but Downey reads the move and intercepts Farrell's pass to Barritt. He intercepts and sprints at the Sarries tryline, with Strettle coming across, Downey passes to Howlett to his outside right, and the former All Black crosses for the try in the corner. O'Gara slots the conversion from wide right.

Saracens 10-10 Munster


25 mins: Munster try to go straight up the middle, they set a ruck on halfway, but fail to use it. Gauzere says scrum Saracens.


23 mins: Fullback Felix Jones had just come off the field injured for Munster and replacement Luke O'Dea was nowhere to be seen in defence, he had gone in the opposite direction to where play was being directed.



Sarries win the lineout and Brown carries to contact. Sarries are into the Munster 22 on the left-hand side of the pitch. Wigglesworth spots nobody at home in the Munster 22 and he chips to the corner. The ball rolls into the Munster goal area and Strettle races on to it to touch down for a try. Farrell converts from wide left, 37m out.

Saracens 10-3 Munster


20 mins: Sarries win the lineout and Barritt takes a crash ball up the centre. Gill carries in the loose. Brits takes the ball out wide right and is hammered into touch in the tackle, but the ball comes off a Munster body.


19 mins: Ryan wins the Munster lineout and Murray boxkicks to touch.


18 mins: Jones claims the restart and Murray boxkicks back to Brits. Saracens counter with ball-in-hand. Tomkins carries to contact and then Farrell pops the ball to the corner with a chip.



Again O'Gara opts to have a pop at goal. This time from the centre of the field, outside the 22, O'Gara slots it over.

Saracens 3-3 Munster


16 mins: Farrell takes the 22 drop-out. Coughlan receives and O'Gara launches a garryowen at Farrell. The outhalf is done for not releasing and Gauzere says penalty Munster.


15 mins: Saracens collapse the second scrum, Munster penalty. O'Gara decides to go for goal. From wide right, on the 10-metre line, he slices it wide right.


14 mins: Scrum Sarries on their own 10-metre line. Both front rows stand up, it must be reset.


13 mins: O'Gara chips over the Sarries backline for Zebo to collect as he rushes on to it. Munster recycle, but Sherry drops it and the attack ends it. Wonderful chip ahead and collect from Zebo though.


12 mins: Munster shuffle across the line to Laulala on the right. At halfway Laulala is tackled by Tomkins and Barritt.


11 mins: Lineout Munster in their own half. Sherry hits Ryan at two, and James Downey crashes up the centre. A long punt is caught by Sarries' Goode. The ball is punted back at Munster and Zebo receives.


10 mins: Sarries claim the restart and Wigglesworth boxkicks long to touch.



Farrell, from right of goal, outside the Munster 10-metre line, bisects the posts. First blood to Sarries.

Saracens 3-0 Munster


8 mins: O'Gara restarts and Sarries claim the high ball. At the ensuing ruck, O'Callaghan is done for hands in the ruck - penalty Saracens.


7 mins: After all that superb play, Farrell goes for the drop goal from inside the Munster 22, on the left of the field, the ball goes wide right. A 22 drop-out for Munster.


6 mins: The penalty is booted to touch and Botha wins the lineout. Sarries ruck it forward through patient phases. Stevens carries hard. Sarries spread wide to Barritt in the centre. They then go right where Brits tries to go through Laulala. He is stopped. Phase number seven ensues, before Sarries go to the left flank and Barritt carries into the 22, Borthwick picks and goes.


5 mins: Saracens scrum: the scrum breaks down and Saracens are awarded a penalty.


4 mins: Zebo boots the penalty to touch. The lineout is won by Munster and they pick and go to the edge of the Sarries 22. But after several phases Munster knock-on. Scrum Saracens.


3 mins: Munster win the scrum and go wide to Howlett. Then spin back infield to Jones joining the line. O'Gara takes it up to contact and Sarries concede a penalty for Stevens joining the ruck from the side.


2 mins: Sarries win the lineout and Ashton takes the ball up the middle to set a ruck, the ball doesn't come out and Munster win a scrum. Early  handbags breaks out as somebody gets offended.


1 min: Farrell starts the match as he kicks off to Munster. The Irish pack receives and Murray box kicks to touch.


A minute's silence is observed for the victims of the shootings in Connecticut on Friday.


Saracens now emerge to the Watford turf, with captain Steve Borthwick leading his charges out. The English club wear red and black striped jerseys, black shorts and black socks.


The red flags of the travelling supporters wave in union at the sight of their heroes, decked in white jerseys, black shorts and red socks this Sunday afternoon.


Munster emerge from their dressing room and onto the Vicarage Road pitch.


A reminder of the teams for today:

Prediction: Saracens 20-13 Munster

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode 14 Chris Ashton 13 Joel Tomkins 12 Brad Barritt 11 David Strettle 10 Owen Farrell 9 Richard Wigglesworth 1 Rhys Gill 2 Schalk Brits 3 Matt Stevens 4 Steve Borthwick (captain) 5 Mouritz Botha 6 George Kruis 7 Will Fraser 8 Kelly Brown.

Replacements: 16 John Smit 17 Mako Vunipola 18 Petrus du Plessis 19 Eoin Sheriff 20 Ernst Joubert 21 Neil de Kock 22 Charlie Hodgson 23 Chris Wyles.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones 14 Doug Howlett (captain) 13 Casey Laulala 12 James Downey 11 Simon Zebo 10 Ronan O'Gara 9 Conor Murray 1 Dave Kilcoyne 2 Mike Sherry 3 BJ Botha 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Dave O'Callaghan 7 Peter O'Mahony 8 James Coughlan.

Replacements: 16 Damien Varley 17 Wian du Preez 18 Stephen Archer 19 Billy Holland 20 Paddy Butler 21 Duncan Williams 22 Ian Keatley 23 Luke O'Dea.


Munster head coach Rob Penney: "It's got an edge to it; it's really exciting. This are the challenges where you measure yourself.

"The desire to do well and not be beaten is just as strong as all the positivity around the game.

"The Munster desire not to disappoint the fans and supporters is there as well.

"We'll try to cut out [giving away] so many penalties today."


Action in Vicarage Road is under ten minutes away now.


FULL-TIME: CASTRES 10-8 GLASGOW. All over in Stade Pierre Antoine. Castres edge out Glasgow to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages from Pool 4.


Back in France, Glasgow with a penalty with two minutes to go and Ruaridh Jackson hits the post with the kick. Huge opportunity missed for the Scots.


Castres crash over the Glasgow tryline in the right-hand corner from a driving maul. Yannick Caballero touches down for the French side. Daniel Kirkpatrick converts to give Castres the lead with four minutes to go.

Castres 10-8 Glasgow




Ten to go in France, still Glasgow lead by the same score.


A reminder of the teams for the clash in Vicarage Road today:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode 14 Chris Ashton 13 Joel Tomkins 12 Brad Barritt 11 David Strettle 10 Owen Farrell 9 Richard Wigglesworth 1 Rhys Gill 2 Schalk Brits 3 Matt Stevens 4 Steve Borthwick (captain) 5 Mouritz Botha 6 George Kruis 7 Will Fraser 8 Kelly Brown.

Replacements: 16 John Smit 17 Mako Vunipola 18 Petrus du Plessis 19 Eoin Sheriff 20 Ernst Joubert 21 Neil de Kock 22 Charlie Hodgson 23 Chris Wyles.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones 14 Doug Howlett (captain) 13 Casey Laulala 12 James Downey 11 Simon Zebo 10 Ronan O'Gara 9 Conor Murray 1 Wian du Preez 2 Mike Sherry 3 BJ Botha 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Dave O'Callaghan 7 Peter O'Mahony 8 James Coughlan.

Replacements: 16 Damien Varley 17 Marcus Horan 18 Stephen Archer 19 Billy Holland 20 Paddy Butler 21 Duncan Williams 22 Ian Keatley 23 Luke O'Dea.


Second row Tom Ryder has gone into the sin bin for Glasgow.


No score change in France, still Castres 3-8 Glasgow with 15 minutes to go.


BREAKING NEWS: David Kilcoyne is out of Munster's Heineken Cup clash with Saracens today. He is replaced by Wian du Preez. Marcus Horan is on the bench.


The second half is underway at Stade Pierre Antoine, the score remains Castres 3-8 Glasgow. 


Clermont coach Vern Cotter was adamant his side have their sights set on the Heineken Cup title after victory in Dublin yesterday. Read more about what he had to say, here.


Rants, raves and missives are all welcome on Twitter to @TPeavoy or @RTEsport. Or email


In other rugby news, the WRU has announced that they may lay an artificial pitch at the Millennium Stadium for use during the 2015 Rugby World Cup matches at the venue.


The big news from an Ireland perspective after yesterday's round of games is that Tommy Bowe suffered a leg injury in Ulster's 10-9 home defeat to Northampton.

The winger suffered the injury when landing awkwardly following a tackle from Saints' Jamie Elliott late in the tie in Belfast. News on his condition has yet to come through.


In the 12:45 kick-off, Castres trail Glasgow 8-3 at half-time. Peter Horne gave Glasgow the lead with a penalty, which Romain Teulet levelled, before John Barclay scored a try to give the Scottish side an interval lead away from home.


Munster secured a 15-9 victory over Saracens in Thomond Park last week to leave them level with their English opponents in Pool 1 of the Heinken Cup on ten points. A crucial victory for Rob Penney's men that was, but another may be needed today at Vicarage Road if Munster are to progress to the knock-out stages of this year's competition. A very difficult proposition, but a challenge similar to others that Munster sides in the past have relished. 

Read Micil Glennon's preview of the encounter here.

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