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Munster left looking for answers after European dream ended by Stade Francais


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Latest rugby union news

Latest rugby union news

Munster coach Anthony Foley admits there will be some soul-searching within the province after they stumbled out of the Champions Cup.

Stade Francais wing Josaia Raisuqe's red card did not stop the French champions knocking Munster out of Europe.

Despite playing for 40 minutes with just 14 men, it was Stade who ran out comfortable winners at Stade Jean Bouin.

And such was their dominance that only a try by Conor Murray five minutes from time prevented Munster suffering their first shut-out in 21 years of European rugby.

It is the second season in a row that two-time European champions Munster have fallen at the pool stage.

Head coach Foley said: "It's hugely disappointing. Everyone in this competition has upped the ante and so have we but we haven't got the results we wanted. Now we have to look for answers that we can show on the pitch.

"We've lost key games over the past two seasons and our inability to score has really hampered us this year.

"We are out of the competition and now we have to look at how we get a performance next week [against Stade Francais at Thomond Park] that is worthy of the jersey."

It was the first time Munster had suffered three defeats in a row at the pool stage of the tournament. That was even after Raisuqe was sent off by World Cup Final referee Nigel Owens on the stroke of half-time for gauging Munster captain CJ Stander as the pair wrestled for the ball.

He added: "After the red card we knew there would be space out wide but we never got the squeeze on them to make the most of it. That was down to good control and defence from Stade but also, at times, our own poor discipline."

After Paul Williams crossed in the first half, man of the match Sekou Macalou and Hugo Bonneval both scored tries with Stade down to 14 men as they halved Leicester Tigers' lead at the top of Pool 4 to four points.

Head coach Gonzalo Quesada said: "I think he [Raisuqe] was just pushing him away but the moment you put your hands in anyone's face, I knew the footage looked ugly in slow motion and I feared the worst.

"But we showed quality with the tries and character to win with 14 men."