Penney not giving up the ghost
Rugby:Munster boss Rob Penney refused to concede his side’s Heineken Cup campaign was over after today’s 19-13 loss at Saracens, the province’s second defeat on the road this season. Munster travel to pointless Edinburgh next before a potentially decisive final-day encounter at home to Racing Metro in January.
Owen Farrell booted 14 points and David Strettle dived over for the home side’s only try to send Saracens top of a congested Pool One table. Saracens had to hold their nerve after losing Will Fraser to the sin bin midway through the second half. Munster failed to cash in on his absence as Ronan O’Gara’s two late misses proved costly.
It means the two-time winners are in danger of failing to progress — they are three points adrift of the top in third — but Saracens now have their fate firmly in their own hands ahead of a tough trip to Racing Metro next month.
“We have still 10 points to play for and who knows what will happen,” Penney said after the match. “I am very optimistic that this group of players can turn this around as they are hugely talented.”
Penney admitted Saracens had deserved their success after a vastly-improved performance from eight days ago. The visitors’ only try came through Doug Howlett after a James Downey intercept on 26 minutes with O’Gara kicking eight points.
“I can’t praise the boys highly enough, but their scrum improved substantially and their lineout was very good,” he said. “They kicked two penalties in our 22 at crucial times and it is as simple as that really.”