Colm Kinsella looks back on Munster’s four previous meetings with Saturday’s opponents Stade Francais.
Munster 27 Stade Francais 10
The return of talismanic hooker Keith Wood to Munster, was the inspiration behind the province’s run to a first Heineken Cup final
Backed by new arrivals, Aussie John Langford and New Zealand-born Mike Mullins, Munster secured their semi-final place with a 17-point win over Stade at Thomond Park.
Anthony Horgan and Dominuc Crotty scored tries, while Ronan O’Gara added five penalties and a coversion against the Parisiens.
MUNSTER: Dominic Crotty; John Kelly, Jason Holland, Mike Mullins, Anthony Horgan; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Peter Clohessy, Keith Wood, John Hayes, Mick Galwey (capt), John Langford, Eddie Halvey, David Wallace, Anothony Foley. Replacements: Marcus Horan for Hayes (25), Alan Quinlan for Halvey (79).
Stade Francais 16 Munster 15
Munster’s hopes of reaching a second successive Heineken Cup final were dashed in controversial circumstances by Stade Francais at Stade Nord in Lille.
Stade scored the only try of a game in the 33rd minute before nervously hanging on to their first half advantage. Ronan O’Gara kicked five penalties for Munster.
But it was a controversial decision which possibly cost Munster another cup final appearance.
They were denied a perfectly good try in the 52nd minute when they were trailing 16-9. Winger John O’Neill chased a kick by scrum-half Peter Stringer and appeared to touch down in the corner.
However, English referee Chris White ruled that O’Neill had crashed into the corner flag before touching down.
A television replay, however, proved differently. Stade, who led 16-6 at half-time, managed to hold on during a nervous final 10 minutes.
MUNSTER: Dominic Crotty; John O’Neill, Mike Mullins, Jason Holland, Anthony Horgan, Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Peter Clohessy, Frankie Sheehan, John Hayes; Mike Galwey, John Langford; Donncha O’Callaghan, David Wallace, Anthony Foley. Replacements used: Marcus Horan, Dion O’Cuinneagain,
Stade Francais 14 Munster 16
Wind-assisted Munster led 16-3 at half-time, but were desperately clinging to a two-point advantage in their quarter-final clash with Stade Francais at Stade Jean Bouin.
Anthony Horgan struck for Munster’s first half try, while Ronan O’Gara added two penalty goals, a drop goal and conversion to help the province reach their third successive semi-final.
MUNSTER: Dominc Crotty; John Kelly, Rob Henderson, Jason Holland, Anthony Horgan; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Peter Clohessy, Frankie Sheahan, John Hayes; Mick Galwey (capt), Peter O’Connell; Jim Williams, Anthony Foley, David Wallace. Replacements: Marcus Horan, James Blaney, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, Mike Prendergast, Mike Mullins, Killian Keane.
Munster 37 Stade 32
Munster stormed into a record fifth Heineken Cup semi-final in a row with five-point victory over Stade Francais Paris at Thomond Park. Both sides scored four tries, with fly-half Ronan O’Gara kicking 17 points in a polished performance in front of a packed crowd.
MUNSTER: Christian Cullen; John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson, Shaun Payne; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frankie Sheahan, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Jim Williams (capt), David Wallace, Anthony Foley Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Gordan McIlwham, David Pusey, Stephen Keogh, Eoin Reddan, Jason Holland, Anthony Horgan,