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Munster knock champions Leinster out of Europe

Simon Zebo scored a hat trick of tries

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Article Published: Sunday 20 January 2013

Munster secured their place in the Heineken Cup quarter finals when they beat Racing Metro 29 -6 with a bonus point in the Heineken cup at Thomond Park

Two-time defending champions Leinster exited this season's Heineken Cup at the pool stage and became the first champions to exit at such an early stage since Wasps in 2008.

Leinster - who have won three of the last four Heineken Cups - had their fate sealed when fellow Irish province Munster beat Racing-Metro in Limerick to deny them one of the two best runners-up spots available for the quarter-finals.

Munster finished level on points with Leinster but edge them on tries scored.

Munster got the perfect start to a match where they needed a bonus point to keep their hopes alive of reaching the quarter-finals as their opponents had flanker Antoine Battut sent off by Wayne Barnes in the fifth minute for kneeing Keith Earls in the head.

However, it took the hosts 20 minutes to go ahead as scrum-half Conor Murray went over from five metres out -- Ian Keatley, standing in for the suspended fly-half Ronan O'Gara, converted to make it 7-3.

The hosts added a second three minutes afterwards as Ireland wing Simon Zebo rounded off a superb move, started by a devastating run by prop Dave Kilcoyne, but Keatley missed the conversion to leave it 12-3.

Munster ran in a third try through Mike Sherry - and could have had a hatful more before half-time but former All Black Doug Howlett's effort was ruled out by the video referee and Earls was just beaten to the ball in the dying seconds of the half.

Zebo it was who guaranteed the crucial bonus point as, after good work by Felix Jones, the 22-year-old tapped the ball through and outpaced the Racing covering defence to touch down with the cries of 'Zebo Zebo' ringing out.

Zebo, son of a Mauritian former French Army soldier and much sought after by Top 14 sides in France, sealed his hat-trick as Earls fed the ball to him and he ran it in from just a few yards out to repeat his feat from last season's final pool match against Northampton.

Final Score Munster (17) 29 Racing Metro (6) 6


Tries: Murray, Zebo 3, Sherry
Cons: Keatley 2

Racing Metro
Pens: Germain 2

Match Officials
Wayne Barnes (Eng),
Assistant ref: JP Doyle (Eng),
Assistant ref: Robin Goodliffe (Eng),
TMO: David Grashoff (Eng),
Citing Commissioner: Tony Lanaway (Eng)


Munster Rugby: Felix Jones; Doug Howlett (c), Keith Earls, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donncha O'Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Tommy O'Donnell, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Wian Du Preez, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Patrick Butler, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Casey Laulala.

Racing Metro 92: Gaetan Germain; Julien Jane, Guillaume Bousses, Alexandre Dumoulin, Sireli Bobo; Olly Barkley, Mathieu Belie; Julien Brugnaut, Benjamin Noirot, Benjamin Salemane Sa, Karim Ghezal, Fabrice Metz, Antoine Battut, Bernard Le Roux, Jacques Cronje (c).

Replacements: Thomas Bianchin, Andrea Lo Cicero, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Jone Qovu Nailiko, Benjamin Fall, Santiago Dellape, Sebastien Descons, Sakiusa Matadigo.

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