A defiant Munster team survived a stern test by Northampton at Thomond Park last night to book their place in the Quarter-Finals of the Heineken Cup.
Somehow Munster managed to repel the Saints attack in the key period of the game that saw Paul O’Connell sin-binned and a series of scrums – in which Northampton were entirely dominant – on the Munster line.
Northampton had looked timid in the first half, with Shane Geraghty afraid to initiate their expansive gameplan, but they grew in confidence in the second half and looked as though they deserved to win.
In typical fashion though, Ronan O’Gara kept his side in front throughout, kicking all twelve of the hosts’ points. They weren’t at their best, but their determination and pride saw them through. Despite it being a tryless match, it was one of the most intense and gripping games of rugby I have seen.
Northampton will now be sweating on the results of the other games to see whether they will qualify for the knockout stages, relying on London Irish not to beat Leinster.
The weekend’s feast of rugby continues today, and the highlight should be the London Irish v Leinster game from Twickenham at 6pm. Can’t wait.