Munster coach is left to rue missed chances and contested calls

Munster coach is left to rue missed chances and contested calls
Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

MUNSTER coach, Johann van Graan, was annoyed at his side not taking their chances and was frustrated by referee, Wayne Barnes’ decisions in the one-point loss to Castres on Saturday.

A losing bonus point away, which could be decisive by the end of the pool stages, would normally be a good result, but Munster should have been more ruthless.

“We’ve got to be more clinical. We certainly created enough opportunities tonight,” he said, with a nod to Andrew Conway’s close-run-thing and Conor Murray’s break on advantage late in the first half. We just weren’t good enough to win away. If you don’t convert all the opportunities into points, then you won’t win.”

Van Graan didn’t share his thoughts on the referee, but he couldn’t help a wry reference to a meeting with referee boss, Joel Jutge, regarding Castres given the benefit of the doubt.

“The values of rugby are pretty important,” said the coach. “We got spoken to about the values of rugby in the week and I thought we stayed within the values of rugby tonight. We just hope that due process will be followed.”

Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Van Graan may have further complaints about the non-sanction of Benjamin Urdapilleta, whose feet-first slide tackle forced Conway to knock on rather than cleanly collect his own kick to score, and a breakdown that often descended into a free-for-all.

“You’ve got to adapt to the referee on the day,” Van Graan said. “There was a lot going on at the breakdown: some decisions went our way and some didn’t.

"Regardless of the breakdown, we had enough opportunities to get some more points on the board. We didn’t, and well done to Castres for winning by one point, in a really tense game of rugby.”

He also dismissed the idea that Munster didn’t create scoring opportunities. 

“There was Andrew Conway’s try-scoring opportunity. I thought Conor Murray created more try-scoring chances that would have made it a game with a bigger margin, and I also thought there was an opportunity after the yellow card at the end of the first half.”

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