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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 29 March, 2020

Howlett defiant after Sarries defeat

Owen Farrell kicked 14 points as Saracens beat Munster 19-13 at Vicarage Road this afternoon.

Neil de Kock celebrates as Munster's Conor Murray leaves the pitch at Vicarage Road.
Neil de Kock celebrates as Munster's Conor Murray leaves the pitch at Vicarage Road.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

MUNSTER’S HEINEKEN CUP hopes were left hanging in the balance on Sunday afternoon but a defiant Doug Howlett declared “the war is still going.”

On a nightmare weekend of defeats for all four Irish provinces, Owen Farrell kicked 14 points to take Saracens to the top of Pool 1 with a 19-13 win at Vicarage Road.

The losing bonus leaves Rob Penney’s men third on 11 points, three behind Saracens, and likely to need a bonus-point win away to Edinburgh in Round 5 to give themselves a fighting chance of a place in the quarter-finals.

An intercept breakaway by James Downey set Howlett up for Munster’s only try in the first half, levelling the match at 10-10 after England international David Strettle touched down to give the hosts the advantage.

And though Munster struck first after the restart with a Ronan O’Gara penalty, three kicks from Farrell saw Sarries over the line.

“It was a hard-fought battle out there and we expected that coming into this game,” Howlett told Sky Sports.

“There’s always things that you could have done better but as it was, I was proud of the guys and what they did.

There’s a lot of “what ifs” out there at the moment. As it is, we got one point out of the game and we’ll see where that takes us.

All we can do is get the results hopefully in the next two games. That was a battle lost, I guess, but the war is still going so we’ll drive on.

Asked if defeat against Racing Metro on the opening weekend might ultimately be the result that comes back to haunt Munster, Howlett said that they can’t afford to focus on the past.

“There’s always things like that in every season but all we can control is what’s in front of us. We have two games to rectify what’s happened.”

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Niall Kelly

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