How the Munster players rated against Perpignan

Steven Miller

Reporter:

Steven Miller

Munster's James Cronin, left, and Duncan Casey celebrate after victory over Perpignan in the Heineken Cup Pool 6 game on Sunday
Munster had a comfortable 36-8 win over Perpignan in Thomond Park on Sunday afternoon, to move them into top spot in Pool 6 of the Heineken Cup.

Munster had a comfortable 36-8 win over Perpignan in Thomond Park on Sunday afternoon, to move them into top spot in Pool 6 of the Heineken Cup.

Felix Jones 7

Never tested defensively but looked lively when going forward and eager to get involved as much as possible. Unfortunate that Ian Keatley’s cross-field kick in the first half was a little overcooked. Replaced by Denis Hurley in the second half

Keith Earls 9

A fine performance from Earls who set the tone early on with a couple of fine bursts and really got the crowd going with his wonderful try before half time. Given the official man of the match award

Casey Laulala 7

Looked to pick up an injury in the opening half but battled on nonetheless. Never put on the back foot, something which could change next week, but he did nothing wrong

James Downey 7

Like Laulala he had nothing to do defensively but he put in his usual solid performance. Will be a big player in the return game on Saturday

Johne Murphy 8

Did very well to set up the game’s first try for Sean Dougall, he was heavily involved early on. Kicked well too

Ian Keatley 8

Started the game very well when he looked very assured. Turned the Perpignan defence on a couple of occasions and also showed great alertness to try a crossfield kick to Felix Jones, which unfortunately didn’t come off. Went off with a slight injury in the second half but should be ok for next Saturday’s game

Conor Murray 8

His injury was the biggest negative to emerge from the game and Munster will be hoping that he isn’t ruled out for too long. Had started very well and his pass to Johne Murphy in the lead up to Munster’s first try was one of the standout moments of the game

Dave Kilcoyne 7

Has come under pressure from James Cronin this season but has responded well to the challenge. Showed typical strength to power over for Munster’s second try and was always involved

Damien Varley 7

With Mike Sherry out for the next six months, the number two jersey would appear to be all Varley’s. The lineout wobbled slightly on Sunday but Varley was busy around the park and made one great run in the first half

Stephen Archer 7

Given the nod to start instead of BJ Botha, he did nothing wrong and will have benefitted from the experience. Will be interesting to see who will be starting next weekend

Donncha O’Callaghan 8

Munster’s oldest players but shows no sign of slowing up. Always looking for work to do and put in another typically robust display before being replaced by Billy Holland in the second half

Paul O’Connell 8

Didn’t hit the same heights as he did against New Zealand for Ireland but he never had to. Always there to do what needed to be done

Peter O’Mahony 7

Played a big role in the turnover that led to Keith Earls try and he also made a big carry in the lead up to Dave Kilcoyne’s. Abrasive and aggressive throughout. The same as ever, really

Sean Dougall 8

Put in a fine performance as well as being on hand to score Munster’s first try and continue his fine try-scoring record in this competition. Got through a lot of work and can be rightly pleased with his display

James Coughlan 7

He was left out for Munster’s last Heineken Cup game - the home tie against Gloucester - but he returned here and was impressive throughout. His late try was just reward for a fine display

Cathal Sheridan 7

Was thrust into the action much early than he would have anticipated but handled the occasion well and didn’t look out of place. Provides a slick service, he should be in line for his first Heineken Cup start next weekend

JJ Hanrahan 7

Got 30 minutes of action after Keatley hobbled off but the game was decided by that stage. Missed a touch with his first kick and his two conversions were handy ones. If Keatley recovers from injury, then he’ll return to the bench

BJ Botha 7

Started on the bench as Stephen Archer was started ahead of him. Carried well on a couple of occasions when he came on and could return to start this weekend

Billy Holland 7

Came on for Donncha O’Callaghan but the game was well over at that stage

Denis Hurley 7

Came on instead of Felix Jones in the second half but the life was gone from the game at that stage

Duncan Casey 7

A Heineken Cup debut for the Shannon man. Replaced Damien Varley late on but could get plenty more chances in the coming weeks as Mike Sherry is ruled out

James Cronin 7

Replaced Dave Kilcoyne, he showed his strength and ball-carrying ability on a number of occasions. A good showing

CJ Stander 7

Only got eight minutes at the end when he replaced Peter O’Mahony. A fan’s favourite but struggling to nail down a regular starting spot