Racing Metro 22-17 Munster
Racing Metro got their Heineken Cup campaign off to the perfect start by beating Munster 22-17 at the Stade de France.
The Munster pack, led by the returning Paul O'Connell, dominated their French counterparts in the early stages and, after they were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try, Ronan O'Gara got his side on the scoreboard with three points. The Irishmen didn't have to wait long for their opening try though as some brittle Racing defence allowed Peter O'Mahony to break through and offload to Sean Dougall to crash over under the posts. Olly Barkley reduced the deficit with a penalty midway through the half on his first start for the club and, after an error in the Munster backline, Jacques Cronje hacked the ball on and Maxime Machenaud touched it down to level the scores. And, despite the visitors looking the better side for the vast majority of the first half, they went into the interval 13-10 behind after Barkley kicked another three points late on. Barkley extended the home side's advantage to six points early in the second half and, with the rain falling and the pitch cutting up badly, both sides struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities. As the match moved into the final ten minutes though, Simon Zebo exploded into action from a quickly taken lineout. The Ireland winger attacked from deep and targeted forwards standing out wide to burst through the defence and score in the corner. Ian Keatley nervelessly slotted over the conversion from the touchline to give Munster a one-point lead but more Munster errors allowed first Barkley and then Mirco Bergamasco to kick penalties and seal victory for Racing.