Monday 24 July 2017

'We weren't over-emotional' - Munster boss Rassie Erasmus says PRO12 final was a 'step too far'

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus during the Guinness PRO12 Final between Munster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus during the Guinness PRO12 Final between Munster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

MUNSTER coach Rassie Erasmus vowed that his chastened side would rebound from their Scarlets shellacking as the southern province ended an emotional season on a bum note at the Aviva Stadium.

However, the South African conceded that winning a title in his first season was perhaps a “step too far” for a side who showed limited ambition and numerous defensive weaknesses against the rampant West Wales men, who won 46-22.

“We weren’t good on the night and they were excellent, from turnovers to the chances they took, they put pressure on us at breakdown.

“A very good performance from them but average from us.

“They scored unbelievable tries but we turned over the ball to give them the opportunities. They believe in the way their coaches are coaching them.

“If we did the week over, I wouldn‘t change anything. There was a lot of analysis which obviously we got wrong but we weren’t over-emotional.

“Maybe it is just where we are. It is wrong to say when you get a 40-point hiding, you are proud of them but they went through a lot this season. We have grown in two competitions but maybe this was a step too far.

“It is a disappointing dressing-room. When the emotion dies off, and we look back, we will assess the season as not so bad but now we are disappointed.

“If we play them three times, that won’t always be the difference but we can’t argue tonight, they were much better than us.

“The reality is that they were better, they have been together for three years, they have been coached for a whole and they peaked. No excuses, we will suck it up and start it again.

“This squad has potential to go much better, you handle and learn from situations, we haven't grown enough to beat a team in the final but this team has tremendous potential.

“The thing that upsets is me is the supporters, we wish we could give them something more. It hurts to lose but it hurts more not to give them something to be happy about.

“I am not disappointed with the players or the coaches. Maybe this final came too early, maybe we were lucky to grow so much, but we have more to come.

“We thought we could grow this team into a title-winning team but we didn’t We have grown a lot on the field but you can only grow so much. Maybe we were punch-drunk at this stage of the season.

“This time last year, we were fighting to get into Europe so we have to keep that perspective, knowing we came from.

Scarlets’ Kiwi coach Wayne Pivac was proud to end Welsh club rugby’s long trophy drought and reserved special tribute for the ex-Leinster lock Tadhg Beirne.

“We’re very proud of the team, to play rugby like that against quality sides like Leinster and Munster, the Ospreys and Connacht, it has been a great run. They love playing this style of rugby and we have really clicked.

“We looked at the way we defended, if we could get a dent in the middle we could recycle quickly and hurt them on the outside.

“It’s not a secret recipe, we work on the basic, the drills are pretty boring, you have to be able to catch and pass under pressure, and doing well in the wide channels. I hope one day the Welsh team can play like that some day.

“And you have to have the balance to go up the middle with guys like Tadhg Beirne.

“Tadhg can play in more than one position and we had injuries so he has had a lot of rugby and thrived on the opportunities. He can run in the open and work in the tight, his try was brute strength.”

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