Foley: This is just the start

Munster skipper Anthony Foley declared his side worthy winners of the 2006 European Cup and predicted the triumph over Biarritz is only the prelude to a dynasty of European glory. [more]

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Munster skipper Anthony Foley declared his side worthy winners of the 2006 European Cup and predicted the triumph over Biarritz is only the prelude to a dynasty of European glory.

Foley said: "I’ve been in a ground twice when the opposition’s captain has lifted the trophy and to be the one to go up there and pick up the silverware is a great feeling.

"I felt we deserved it over the year. At Munster we’ve always said we want to win trophies and big competitions. As a player there is nothing that will ever surpass your first international cap.

"That is the ultimate. But what we achieved is magnificent. It’s a journey which is not over yet – it’s just another station on the way.

"We can kick on from here and if we do we can compete for this trophy for a number of years to come."

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The decisive blow was then struck by man of the match Peter Stringer who broke from a scrum, and dashed in unopposed with Biarritz’s tacklers stranded.

It was a fantastic solo score and Stringer revealed the chink in Biarritz’s armour had been spotted in the build-up to the match.

He said: "When I put the ball into the scrum I saw the winger was standing behind it.

"I hoped he’d work his way in field like we’d seen in our analysis. And thankfully when I picked up the ball he wasn’t in my way and I got bit of a run in the end which was nice.

"We wanted to play for the full 80 minutes and worked extremely hard in the first half. We tried to repeat that in the second but they had a purple patch and came at us.

"Our discipline proved to be very good at the end and that won us the game."

He added: "It’s hard to say what Munster’s secret is. It’s something that comes from where we live. It’s a special place to be.

"You meet your friends in the street and you see how much games like this mean to them. It’s hard to put your finger on what gives us success like this."

Munster coach Declan Kidney admitted 11 years of European Cup combat proved instrumental in the triumph.

He said: "This bunch of guys look after themselves. They’re a good group, they know the game and have picked up a lot of experience over the years.

"They’re fully aware that in sport you lose more than you win but they’ve learnt from every defeat.

"The noise level out there was something. Trying to operate under those conditions is something you can’t buy."

Biarritz coach Patrice Lagisquet lamented the defensive mix-up that allowed Stringer to cross for his 32nd-minute try and saluted Munster’s commitment.

Lagisquet said: "I regret that we gave Munster a lot of gifts, especially at the five metre scrum they scored from. It was a misunderstanding because Bobo wanted to help the backline defend.

"We can’t be too disappointed with the second half as Munster played with at such high intensity. Our kicking wasn’t what it should have been but I can’t blame the players for losing their heads.

"We should have won more ball on the ground. We kept winning ball that wasn’t playable."

Biarritz skipper Thomas Lievremont felt the outcome had been decided as early as the 17th minute, when Halstead ran in Munster’s first try.

"We saw Munster were getting more and more tired. If we could have forced them into committing errors at the end there was a chance we could have snatched it.

"But it was too late by then. We lost the game in the defensive error which let Munster score their first try.
"To concede the first try was very disappointing because we had put so much effort in up until that."

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