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Pienaar, penalties and late poaches: Munster's history with Saracens

Can the southern province get back to winning ways against the Premiership side?

A FIGHT PROMOTER might tell you that these two just plain don’t like each other – and they’d be right.

Munster and Saracens will meet for the sixth time in European competition tomorrow at Thomond Park. And if previous results are anything to go by, it’s going to be another intense and unbearably close match-up.

Here’s how Munster have fared against the Premiership side in their five meetings so far.

1. Saracens 34 Munster 35

Anthony Foley and Alan Quinlan 28/11/1999 Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

The first meeting between the sides in the Heineken Cup pool stages in November 1999 was the highest scoring contest between the pair.

Munster went in trailing 21 – 9 at the break in Vicarage Road. But came roaring back against with tries from Jeremy Stainton, Kiliian Keane, Mike Mullins and Anthony Foley against a Francois Pienaar’s Saracens.

Peter Stringer and Franscois Pienaar 28/11/1999 Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

2. Munster 31 Saracems 30

The combined score went down, but there was still precious little to separate the teams when they met in January 2000.

John Langford 8/1/2000 John Langford, complete with halo. Source: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

Munster were well on their way to forging a reputation as a side who had what it took to eke out a result. Again, the southern province trailed at the break, but despite George Hook writing his home province off, Keith Wood’s late try and Ronan O’Gara’s in-off-the-upright conversion gave Munster another one-point win.

Source: Conor Ryan/YouTube

3. Munster 18 Saracens 16

It was a long wait until their paths would cross again, but it was the most important fixture to date, a Heineken Cup semi-final that stood between Munster and their second European Cup.

Source: munstersabu/YouTube

Munster went to the Ricoh Arena, now the new home of Wasps, and after O’Gara and Alan Quinlan tries brought an eight-point half-time lead there was a nervy ending until Munster forced a penalty to halt Sarries’ late surge.

Paul O'Connell and David Wallace 27/4/2008 Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

4. Munster 15 Saracens 9

The two teams were last drawn in a pool together in 2012. Though many felt the balance of power in the rivalry shifting, Munster maintained their 100% record  thanks to five O’Gara penalties in an incredibly intense win over the ‘Wolf Pack’.

Conor Murray Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

5. Saracens 19 Munster 13

It’s just under two years since the 100% record ended, the second of the back-to-back meetings took Munster to Vicarage Road again. And although Doug Howlett pulled Munster to 10 -10 parity at half-time, Owen Farrell kicked three penalties to ROG’s one

Owen Farrell Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Which way will tomorrow’s meeting go?

Foley needs Munster to find crucial 5% as Saracens visit Thomond

Clermont flanker Bardy banned for Munster trip after knee on Vunipola

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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