MUNSTER secured a dramatic, last-gasp, 18-17 win over Perpignan at the Stade Aime Giral to consolidate their position at the top of Heineken Cup Pool 6 and end the French side’s hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages.
With the match clock already in the red, Munster replacement JJ Hanrahan produced a stunning sidestep 25 metres out to leave the Perpignan defence floundering and the UL-Bohs clubman raced clear before touching down for the match-winning try in the left corner.
The victory sees Munster move six points clear at the top of the group, with three wins from four games, ahead of this Sunday’s clash between Gloucester and Edinburgh.
Tommy Allan kicked three penalties to one from fellow fly-half Ian Keatley to give the hosts a 9-3 half-time lead.
A penalty try following a series of powerful scrums from the Munster pack, converted by Keatley, saw the Irish side nudge ahead before Allan and Keatley traded penalties.
A 78th-minute Tommaso Benvenuti try looked to be decisive, but Hanrahan touched down in the last minute for the decisive score just two minutes after arriving onto the pitch as a replacement for the Keith Earls.
SCORERS - Munster: JJ Hanrahan try, penalty try, Ian Keatley two pens, one con. Perpignan: Tommaso Benvenuti try, Tommy Allan four pens.
PERPIGNAN: Joffrey Michel; Richard Haughton, Lifeimi Mafi, Watisoni Votu, Sofiane Guitoune; Tommy Allan, Nicolas Durand; Sébastien Taofifenua, Romain Terrain, Paulica Ion, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Guillaume Vilaceca, Dan Leo, Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway (capt).
Replacements: Guilhem Guirado, Pascal Cotet, Jean Baptiste Custoja, Justin Purll, Tom Ecochard, David Marty, Tommaso Benvenuti, Jean-Pierre Perez
MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Cathal Sheridan; James Cronin, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donnacha Ryan, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Sean Dougall, James Coughlan.
Replacements used: David Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.
REFEREE - JP Doyle (England)