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    Penalty goals: James (6),
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    Penalty goals: O'Gara (4),
    Conversions: O'Gara,

Munster - Room for improvement

Skipper pleased with bonus point but knows team must do better

Last updated: 7th December 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Munster - Room for improvement

O'Connell: Powerhouse

We gave away too many penalties in the wrong areas and they made us pay on the scoreboard. We will have to tighten up on that next week.

Paul O'Connell
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Captain Paul O'Connell admits indiscipline was to blame for Munster's 25-19 Heineken Cup defeat to Clermont Auvergne.

The defending champions slipped to their first European defeat since clinching the title last season at Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday.

Despite claiming a bonus point with Ronan O'Gara's 73rd minute penalty, the Magners League leaders trail Sale at the top of Pool One and are now just a point ahead of the French side.

While trying to take the positives out of the loss, O'Connell concedes his team cannot afford to give so many penalties away in the return leg at Thomond Park.

Improvement

"Clermont is a difficult place to come and sometimes the bonus point is the most important thing in a group as tight as this, especially after Sale got a bonus point win this weekend to get them right back in it," he told Sky Sports 2.

"But we're still disappointed to lose because things were going well for us in the first half. We scored a great try but we made the mistake of allowing them to build momentum.

"We gave away too many penalties in the wrong areas and they made us pay on the scoreboard. We will have to tighten up on that next week.

"But we showed great resilience to get in a position to earn the bonus point and at the end we were pushing hard for the win."

Consistency

Marcus Horan's try gave the visitors a a 13-6 lead on 25 minutes, but Brock James kicked immaculately and scored a converted try as the French kept themselves in contention for quarter-final qualification.

"We have had an inconsistent season so to put a good foot forward we knew we had to get a result against Munster," James said.

"We're pleased to get it, but now we have to back it up when we go to Munster next week and Sale after that.

"Munster did a great job of slowing our ball when we had space out wide but I thought we controlled the game and the more field position we held, the more the points came.

"But we know the size of the challenge next week. Munster are the top side in Europe so we will have to be at our very best to get anything there."

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Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com