MUNSTER crashed out of the European Champions Cup after suffering a 33-10 drubbing at the hands of Saracens at Allianz Park this Saturday.
Munster’s third successive defeat in the Champions Cup means the two-time winners cannot now qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition. This was Munster’s heaviest defeat in Europe since their 1996 thumping at the hands of Toulouse in France. It is only the second time in 17 years that Munster have failed to qualify for the quarter-finals
Saracens laid the foundation for this win in the opening half after which the Aviva Premiership side led 23-3. The home side scored two first half tries through wingers Chris Wyles and Chris Ashton.
Munster’s cause was not helped by an early injury to key ball-carrying forward CJ Stander which forced him off the pitch after 27 minutes.
A 57th minute penalty goal from Sarries’ England out-half Owen Farrell - who kicked 18 points in all - left Munster with a mountain to climb. Centre Denis Hurley managed a Munster try while their prop James Cronin was in the sin-bin. However, Winger Ashton added his second and Saracens third try in the 73rd minute.
Munster complete their programme of European Champions Cup Pool 1 fixtures against Sale Sharks at Thomond Park on Sunday, January 25 at 3.15pm.
SCORERS: Saracens: Chris Ashton two tries, Chris Wyles try, Owen Farrell four pens, three cons. Munster: Denis Hurley try, Ian Keatley pen, con.
SARACENS: Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt, Chris Wyles; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Petrus du Plessis, Jim Hamilton, Alistair Hargreaves (capt), Kelly Brown, Jacques Burger, Billy Vunipola. Replacements: Brett Sharman, Richard Barrington, James Johnston, Maro Itoje, Ernst Joubert, Neil de Kock, Charlie Hodgson, Ben Ransom.
MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Andrew Conway, Pat Howard, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha, Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu, John Ryan, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Dave O’Callaghan, Ronan O’Mahony, JJ Hanrahan, Keith Earls.
REFEREE: Romain Poite (France)