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Munster boss Rob Penney remains optimistic despite defeat at Vicarage Road

Updated: Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012 20:27 | Comments

Munster were narrowly beaten by Saracens this afternoon
Munster were narrowly beaten by Saracens this afternoon

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Munster boss Rob Penney is optimistic on his side's Heineken Cup chances despite defeat to Saracens at Vicarage Road today.

Saracens sit top of a congested Pool One table with Racing Metro just behind them in the second qualification position.

Munster travel to pointless Edinburgh next before a potentially decisive final-day encounter at home to Racing.

"We have still 10 points to play for and who knows what will happen," Penney said.

"I am very optimistic that this group of players can turn this around as they are hugely talented."

Penney admitted Saracens had deserved their success after a vastly-improved performance from eight days ago.

The visitors' only try came via a Doug Howlett intercept on 26 minutes with O'Gara kicking eight points.

"I can't praise the boys highly enough, but their scrum improved substantially and their lineout was very good," he said.

"They kicked two penalties in our 22 at crucial times and it is as simple as that really."

"We have still 10 points to play for and who knows what will happen" - Rob Penney

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hailed his side's character after they claimed a crucial 19-13 win.

Owen Farrell booted 14 points and David Strettle dived over for the home side's only try to send Saracens top of a congested Pool One table.

McCall's men were deserved winners but had to hold their nerve after losing Will Fraser to the sin bin midway through the second half.

Munster failed to cash in on his absence as Ronan O'Gara's two late misses proved costly.

It means last season's beaten finalists are danger of failing to progress - they are three points adrift of the top in third - but Saracens now have their fate firmly in their own hands ahead of a tough trip to Racing Metro next month.

"Hopefully this was a bit of a coming of age for us but after four games you want to control your destiny," McCall said.

"We have to go to Racing Metro and potentially there are more twists and turns to come in this group.

"We played some really good stuff in attack and dug in when we needed to. Our performance had a bit of everything and we showed real character."

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