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Anthony Foley: Poor start cost Munster the match


Squeeze: Tommy O’Donnell is tackled by Wesley Fofana

Squeeze: Tommy O’Donnell is tackled by Wesley Fofana

?INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Squeeze: Tommy O’Donnell is tackled by Wesley Fofana

Munster head coach Anthony Foley bemoaned his side's 'very poor start' as Clermont Auvergne's 16-9 victory at Thomond Park moved them to the top of European Champions Cup Pool 1One.

Clermont became the first French team to beat Munster at their Limerick fortress, ending a 23-match winning streak in such fixtures for the Irish province. The Reds' only previous European home defeats came against Leicester Tigers (2007) and Ulster (2012).

Man-of-the-match Fritz Lee and Wesley Fofana both touched down in the opening quarter, with Camille Lopez's penalty and drop goal making it 16-6 to the French giants.

Ian Keatley knocked over his third successful penalty but Munster were unable to cross the whitewash on a frustrating night for the two-time European Cup winners.

Foley admitted afterwards: "It was a very poor start (from us). That allowed Clermont to get belief and obviously gave them five points (with Lee's try).

"From there, they grew into the game and we didn't get as physically into the game as we would have liked and some of that is turning over ball and not making good use of the ball, putting pressure on them. We soaked up a lot of pressure and ended up giving out points to them.

"We came into the game very confident to get a physical job done on them. We are not looking for excuses. Clermont were the better team here and we need to rectify that for next week. We need to be able to go over there and get one back."

Foley insists they are still very much in with a chance of quarter-final qualification, sitting second in the pool table just a point behind Clermont.

Next weekend's trip to the Stade Marcel Michelin is hugely significant and Foley explained: "I don't think we're going to throw in any towel and we'll give it our best shot. We'll make sure that we stay fighting.

"We've got to stay true to the badge that we're wearing."

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