European Rugby Champions Cup round-up: Peter O'Mahony happy with bonus point but Munster face uphill battle to progress

O’Mahony accepts their European Champions Cup quarter-final qualification hopes rest in the hands of others

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The Independent Online

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony accepts their European Champions Cup quarter-final qualification hopes rest in the hands of others but he is adamant his battling side will not give up until the final whistle.

A last-gasp penalty goal from Ian Keatley earned Munster a losing bonus point in their 26-19 defeat at Stade Marcel-Michelin as French giants Clermont Auvergne did the double over the Irish province yesterday.

Despite that bonus point though, the two-time former European champions face a fight to progress from a hugely competitive Pool One, as they now trail leaders Clermont by four points and second-placed Saracens by three ahead of contests against Sarries and Sale next month.

O’Mahony is determined to be positive, however, and said: “We dug in and got a point and you cannot yet tell what is going to happen in terms of qualification. That point could prove crucial.

“Now we have got two huge games to look forward to in the new year against Saracens and Sale Sharks when we have to fight for our lives.

“We will always pride ourselves on our physicality and we have put ourselves in a position where we can still qualify.

 

“I am hugely proud of the lads digging in and pulling something out at a hugely difficult place to come and play,” O’Mahony added.

Also yesterday, Scarlets moved off the bottom of Pool Three with a 22-13 home win over Ulster, Rhys Priestland kicking four first-half penalties to put them 12-0 ahead, then James Davies’ late try ending the visitors’ fightback.

On Saturday, Leigh Halfpenny’s metronomic boot helped Toulon to cruise past Leicester 23-8 and avenge last week’s defeat to the Tigers.

Last year’s Heineken Cup winners saw their nine-match unbeaten run in Europe end at Welford Road. But the Top14 side exacted their revenge in style at a noisy Stade Mayol, with Ali Williams and Mathieu Bastareaud scoring tries, while Halfpenny added a  13-point haul on his return to the side.

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