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Clermont's Lee Byrne paid tribute to beaten Heinenken Cup opponents Munster

Last updated: 28th April 2013  

Clermont's Lee Byrne paid tribute to beaten Heinenken Cup opponents Munster

Lee Byrne (left) and Regan King celebrate Clermont's semi-final win

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Clermont Auvergne full-back Lee Byrne felt the French side deserved their hard-fought Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Munster.

But the Welsh full-back paid tribute to a valiant Munster side, who produced a gutsy second-half rally before losing 16-10 at Stade de la Mosson.

It was an eighth successive win in this season's tournament for Clermont and Byrne said: "It is a dream come true to finally reach a Heineken Cup final.

"It was the toughest game we've had all season and you've got to hold your hands up to Munster for that, they wore the famous red jersey with real pride.

"We fully deserved to come through with the win. We had a few opportunities (to score a second try), but the ball didn't stick. We got a bit nervy, but hopefully we will come back stronger for the final (on May 18 in Dublin).

"Whoever we face it will be another very tough challenge. We will do our homework and come out firing."

Defeat hard to take

Munster's fly-half Ronan O'Gara said: "Defeat is extremely hard to take after you have put so much into a game like that, but it is winner takes all in a semi-final.

"This is an unbelievable competition and it was an incredible atmosphere. It was a fantastic occasion to be a part of, but the only reason we play is to win.

"There was some serious resilience from Munster and I am proud to be a part of the team. We are growing and getting better as a team but we gave Clermont too much of a start (13-3 down at half-time).

"When we come away from home you ask for character from a team and we certainly showed that, we gave our all."

Asked whether it may have been his last Heineken Cup game, the 36-year-old added: "It's not the time for me to be thinking or talking about retirement. I owed it to my team-mates to be totally focused on the game today and I was.

"I love coming to France and playing, and this competition has given me the best memories. I will sleep on it until the end of the season."

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Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
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13:00Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
15:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
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