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Who will win the Top 14 Final, and the top french seed in the Heineken Cup 2006/07?
Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque (52%)
Toulouse (48%)
Heineken Cup
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Munster fulfil their destiny
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff   Att: 74,534
Referee: Chris White
Saturday 20th May 2006, 15:00
MatchDayLive - Live audio and text tracking
Guide to Cardiff
The Munster players celebrate their success
Stu Forster
Match report
Munster were crowned European champions after winning the Heineken Cup for the first time after winning a gripping final against Biarritz in Cardiff.

Heartbreaking defeats in the finals of 2000 and 2002 had upped the stakes for Munster but it was a case of third time lucky after producing the performance of a lifetime.

A packed Millennium Stadium erupted in a sea of red after Trevor Halstead and Peter Stringer both scored tries to savour.

And Ronan O’Gara kicked a perfect five out five to clinch an historic win for the Irish giants and spark wild celebrations that were heard all the way back in Limerick and Cork.

Sereli Bobo had given Biarritz hope with a try after two minutes and Dimitri Yachvili kicked 14 points – including three second-half penalties – as the French champions roared back late on.

But after so many disappointments in the final – including the 2002 defeat at the same venue – Munster were not to be denied a thrilling victory.

They had to recover from the blow of conceding an early try to dominate the first-half of this tenth Heineken Cup Final. Biarritz had been criticised by some for failing to carry their thrilling form from the French Championship into the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup.

The French champions had managed just one try in 160 minutes, from Sareli Bobo, against Sale Sharks and Bath in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively. But it took them little more than two minutes to find a way through Munster’s defence – and it was that man again, Bobo, who tip-toed inside the touchline to score.

Biarritz had Munster under pressure right from the kick off and when Philippe Bidabe shrugged off John Kelly on the narrow side, Fijian Bobo had enough room to squeeze over in the corner to stun the huge Munster contingent. O’Gara narrowed the gap with a seventh-minute penalty and then began the move that saw Halstead lift the roof off the Millennium Stadium by giving Munster the lead. Biarritz looked to have survived a red siege on their try line when they cleared their lines before Anthony Horgan raced onto O’Gara’s neat chip. Jerry Flannery and Paul O’Connell burst forward before the ball was worked out wide for Halstead to crash over from close range.

Yachvili levelled the scores with 22nd minute penalty after O’Gara had added the conversion but that could not stop the red machine, by now in fifth gear. The power of the Irish forwards saw Munster rumble their way once more to within ten yards of the Biarritz line but it was a moment of thrifty opportunism that got them over.

Ireland scrum-half Stringer saw opposite number Yachvili out of position and left Serge Betsen grasping air as he rounded the blindside of the scrum untouched to score. O’Gara’s conversion put Munster 17-10 ahead before the break and a second penalty gave them the perfect start to the second half. Yachvili kept a cool head to bang over two penalties of his in response, the second after Denis Leamy’s high tackle on Imanol Harinordoquy.

That kept this final on a knife-edge with just four points separating the sides and half an hour still to play. Biarritz lost two key players in centre Damien Traille and skipper Thomas Lievremont to injuries but a fourth penalty for Yachvili narrowed the gap to a single point ten minutes from time. But ice-cool O’Gara was calm under pressure in front of goal as Munster held out until the final whistle.

Biarritz Olympique V Munster
  P D C T Player Player T C D P  

Nicolas Brusque 15 Shaun Payne

Jean-Baptiste Gobelet 14 Anthony Horgan

Philippe Bidabe 13 John Kelly

Replacement off

Damien Traille 12 Trevor Halstead 1

1 Sereli Bobo 11 Ian Dowling

Julien Peyrelongue 10 Ronan O'Gara
Dimitri Yachvili 9 Peter Stringer 1

Man of the Match
Replacement off

Petru Vladimir Balan 1 Marcus Horan

Replacement off
Replacement off

Benoit August 2 Jerry Flannery

Replacement off

Census Johnson 3 John Hayes

Jerome Thion 4 Donnacha O'Callaghan

Replacement off

David Couzinet 5 Paul O'Connell

Replacement off

Serge Betsen 6 Denis Leamy

Imanol Harinordoquy 7 David Wallace

Replacement off

Thomas Lievremont (capt) 8 Anthony Foley (capt)

Replacement off
Replacement on

Benjamin Noirot 16 Denis Fogarty

Replacement on

Benoit Lecouls 17 Fredericio Pucciariello

Replacement on
Replacement on

Olivier Olibeau 18 Mick O'Driscoll

Replacement on
Replacement on

Thierry Dusautoir 19 Alan Quinlan

Replacement on

Manuel Carizza 20 Tomas O'Leary

Julien Dupuy 21 Jeremy Manning

Replacement on

Frederico Martin Arramburu 22 Rob Henderson

Penalty Tries
First half timeline
1 Biarritz Olympique Biarritz win possession from the kick off, and Peyrelougne puts a kick to the corner.
1 Biarritz Olympique A poor throw from August allows Wallace to win the lineout for Munster, and O'Gara clears
2 Biarritz Olympique
Try - S Bobo
A dream start for Biarritz, with Bobo diving in in the corner after good work in midfield
3 Biarritz Olympique
Conversion - D Yachvili
Yachvili makes the kick from the far left touchline
6 Munster Munster's first catch and drive sees them move to the 22, but Biarritz called for pulling down the maul, and O'Gara opts to kick for goal
7 Munster
Penalty kick - R O'Gara
O'Gara scores Munster's first points, 22m out from the left hand side
8 Biarritz Olympique August throws to the tail of the lineout, and Biarritz build an attack into the 22, Munster steal and stringer clears.
10 Munster Munster show their first signs of getting into the game. Stringer takes a quick throw, and Foley and O'Connell gain ground before spreading the ball wide and moving into Biarritz penalty
12 Munster Betsen penalised for pulling down the maul, referee Chris White has a strong word, O'Gara opts to kick to the corner
13 Munster Wallace catches the lineout, but can't get the drive going, instead it's centre Halstead who makes a break. Biarritz are holding on
13 Munster Lievremont penalised at the ruck, and O'Gara is instructed by captain Foley to kick for the corner
15 Biarritz Olympique Biarritz come away from that mini-siege without conceding after Traille touches down in the try area after he collected O'Gara's attempted chip on
17 Munster
Try - T Halstead
Halstead finishes off another strong Munster attack after Leamy finds space to feed the ball to the South African centre
18 Munster
Conversion - R O'Gara
O'Gara makes another solid kick through the posts
20 Biarritz Olympique Yachvili puts in fine kick into touch, forcing Flannery to throw in five metres from his line
22 Biarritz Olympique
Penalty kick - D Yachvili
No mistake from Yachvili after Munster penalised at a ruck
25 Munster Munster move the ball into the 22 with Horgan, Stringer switches the play and O'Connell breaks the gain line. But Brusque collects O'Garas grubber kick and Biarritz have a chance to clear
27 Munster Biarritz going through the phases, but Munster's defence is holding firm on their 10m line
28 Biarritz Olympique Biarrtiz win a lineout 15 m out, Yachvili spreads the ball to Brusque who attempts a kick on, Dowling defends and Biarritz have a lineout on the opposite side of the park
30 Munster Payne eventually clears the ball for Munster, and now the Irish side have possession - referee White calls the defence offside. Again O'Gara kicks for the corner - but it's a poor kick and the throw is taken from the 22.
31 Munster
Try - P Stringer
Stringer shows his class with a fine individual try, Munster have a scrum 10m out, Stringer cheekily turns down the blindside and races over
32 Munster
Conversion - R O'Gara
Cool, calm and collected, O'Gara adds the extras
34 Biarritz Olympique August's lineout throw is too long, and Wallace collects, and passes to O'Gara who clears. Brusque and O'Gara exchange kicks
37 Munster Munster have all the possession now, and are mounting wave after wave of attack, possession ends as O'Gara puts a perfect kick into the corner.
40 Munster The Munster lineout works well, and Halstead and Payne make inroads into Biarritz territory, Kelly is penalised for holding on, and Yachvili's clearing kick is the final action of the half.
Second half timeline
41 Munster Munster get the second half underway, and the excitement inside the stadium rises with the Irish fans knowing they are only 40 minutes away from realising their dream
42 Munster
Penalty kick - R O'Gara
Thion and Traille get in a muddle trying to deal with Stringers high kick, the ref. Spots an infringement and O'Gara stretches the lead to 10 points.
44 Biarritz Olympique It's a stuttering second half start for the Frenchmen, Munster are making the big hits on Traille and Betsen
45 Biarritz Olympique
Substitution - O Olibeau on for D Couzinet

46 Munster Munster get back to basics with a successful lineout from Flannery to O'Connell, and O'Gara's strong clearing kick
47 Biarritz Olympique Brusque kicks ahead for territory
48 Munster O'Connell slaps the lineout back to Stringer, who darts forward, but after he spills the ball Horgan is called offside
48 Biarritz Olympique
Penalty kick - D Yachvili
Yachvili's kick puts them to within a converted try of Munster
50 Biarritz Olympique Harinordoquy collects the ball well, and they drive on, Peyrelounge finds space in midfield and moves up to the Munster 10 line. Munster can't get near the ball at the moment as the French side build a rhythm
50 Biarritz Olympique the move eventually ends when Harinordoquy is high tackled, and the ref calls a penalty
51 Biarritz Olympique
Penalty kick - D Yachvili
A cheeky chip from Yachvili narrows the gap to just four points
52 Munster O'Connell beaten to another lineout, things aren't going Munster's way in the set piece
52 Biarritz Olympique
Substitution - T Dusautoir on for T Lievremont

53 Biarritz Olympique
Substitution - F Martin Arramburu on for D Traille

55 Munster O'Gara makes a magnificent kick for territory (20m out) to give Munster a lift
57 Munster O'Callaghan steals the lineout, the loose ball is collected by Flannery and they try to set up a rolling maul. Biarritz defend well, and kick to touch
59 Biarritz Olympique Biarritz have a put in on the half-way line, Martin Arramburu chips ahead, Payne gathers. Play is paused by the ref after Betsen is penalised for not releasing the man
61 Munster Horan puts the crowd on their feet with a powerful gainline-breaking run to the 22
63 Biarritz Olympique
Substitution - B Lecouls on for C Johnson

63 Munster
Substitution - F Pucciariello on for M Horan

64 Munster Bidabe puts a fine kick to touch to earn good territory for his side, but Munster do their lineout job well and O'Gara clears
66 Biarritz Olympique A promising Biarritz attack breaks down when Bidabe throws a missed pass behind Bobo
67 Munster Munster mess up a lineout 30m from the Biarritz line, Peyrelounge kicks the ball to touch
67 Biarritz Olympique
Substitution - B Noirot on for B August

69 Biarritz Olympique Foley penalised as a ruck, a Yachvili sees his chance to kick his team to within a point
69 Munster Ronan O'Gara shouts instructions to his team mates as the winning line is in sight for Munster
70 Biarritz Olympique
Penalty kick - D Yachvili
An ice cool kick under pressure by the French Number 9
71 Munster O'Gara restarts, and the Biarritz full back replies, it's a scrappy period of play, with both sides looking nervous.
71 Munster
Substitution - M O'Driscoll on for A Foley

72 Munster O'Connell carries the ball toward the 22, time for cool heads, but Biarritz lose it and Johnson goes into the side of a ruck. O'Gara lines up a shot at goal
73 Munster
Penalty kick - R O'Gara
A perfect kick from nearly 40m sends the Munster fans wild
73 Munster O'Connell wins the restart, O'Gara clears and Munster win a penalty as Biarritz stray offside
74 Biarritz Olympique
Substitution - C Johnson on for P Balan

75 Munster The tension inside the Millennium Stadium is incredible, both sides are straining to get some continuity in their play
76 Munster
Substitution - A Quinlan on for P O'Connell

77 Munster Halstead knocks on 40m out from his posts, and Biarritz have a scrum, and a chance
78 Biarritz Olympique They win the scrum and spin the ball left, Munster defend bravely and Stringer snatches the ball and desperately clears
79 Munster The Millennium Stadium is alive with the sounds of 60,000 Munster fans signing, an unbelievable atmosphere inside one of the World's greatest stadiums
79 Biarritz Olympique Biarritz stop the singing with a dangerous dart into the 22 by Brusque. What tension, it's almost unbearable. but in their eagerness, Bobo is called for accidental offside. Munster have a scrum
80 Munster O'Gara clears the ball to touch, the referee blows his whistle and the game is over. Munster are the champions of Europe.
Results so far
Biarritz Olympique
Date Stage Opposition Score
20/5/06 Final Munster 19-23
22/4/06 Semi-finals Bath Rugby 18-9
2/4/06 Quarter-finals Sale Sharks 11-6
21/1/06 Pool 4 Saracens 43-13
13/1/06 Pool 4 Ulster 8-24
17/12/05 Pool 4 Benetton Treviso 24-38
11/12/05 Pool 4 Benetton Treviso 34-7
29/10/05 Pool 4 Ulster 33-19
23/10/05 Pool 4 Saracens 22-10
Date Stage Opposition Score
20/5/06 Final Biarritz Olympique 19-23
23/4/06 Semi-finals Leinster 6-30
1/4/06 Quarter-finals Perpignan 19-10
21/1/06 Pool 1 Sale Sharks 31-9
13/1/06 Pool 1 Castres Olympique 9-46
17/12/05 Pool 1 Dragons 30-18
10/12/05 Pool 1 Dragons 8-24
29/10/05 Pool 1 Castres Olympique 42-16
21/10/05 Pool 1 Sale Sharks 27-13
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Head to Head

The Heineken Cup final will be the 11th major rugby game at the Millennium Stadium this season.

The Heineken Cup final will be played on grass grown in Holland that has greater resistance to shade than most varieties. The Millennium Stadium is the first venue in the UK to use this type of grass, which was installed less than a month ago.

The turf is laid on 7,400, 1 cwt pallets that can be removed to reveal a hard-standing surface that the Millennium Stadium will use to stage the British Speedway Grand Prix next month and then summer concerts involving Take That, The Eagles, Madonna and the Rolling Stones.

The Millennium Stadium Head Groundsman Lee Evans walks 9 miles every time he cuts or rolls the pitch. Lee will be cutting the pitch seven times this week ahead of the Heineken Cup final and walking a mere 63 miles - twice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and once on match day.

The grass was cut to 23mm high for the FA Cup final, whereas it will be 33mm for the Heineken Cup final.

There will be 3,000 people working at the Millennium Stadium on Heineken Cup final day, even though the Stadium's full time staff is only 54.

The Stadium expects to sell in the region of 60,000 pints of Heineken on Saturday.

The Stadium expects to sell more than 6,500 pies and pasties from its vending outlets at the Heineken Cup final.


Previous Heineken Cup meetings
Date Stage Home Score Away
Sat 20th May 06 Final Biarritz Olympique 19-23 Munster
Sun 3rd Apr 05 Quarter-finals Biarritz Olympique 19-10 Munster
Sun 28th Jan 01 Quarter-finals Munster 38-29 Biarritz Olympique
Heineken Cup History
Biarritz Olympique
2005/06 - Runners up
2004/05 - Semi-finals
2003/04 - Semi-finals
2002/03 - Quarter-finals
2001/02 - Pool 3
2000/01 - Quarter-finals
2005/06 - Champions
2004/05 - Quarter-finals
2003/04 - Semi-finals
2002/03 - Semi-finals
2001/02 - Runners up
2000/01 - Semi-finals
1999/00 - Runners up
1998/99 - Quarter-finals
1997/98 - Pool D
1996/97 - Pool D
1995/96 - Pool D
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