Saturday 21 October 2017

'We were coughing up ball all the time' - Munster humiliated in sobering defeat

'Maybe this is where we are' admits Erasmus after crushing final loss

Dave Kilcoyne, Billy Holland, and Peter O'Mahony of Munster react after the Guinness PRO12 Final between Munster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Dave Kilcoyne, Billy Holland, and Peter O'Mahony of Munster react after the Guinness PRO12 Final between Munster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Van der Merwe goes over to score a try during Scarlet’s PRO12 final victory over Munster at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photo: PA Wire
Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning

Munster's plans for finishing a fine season with silverware were shredded by men in red at the Aviva Stadium last night. It was the Scarlets who got to wear their home strip and they looked thoroughly at home as they lifted only their second Guinness PRO12 title, with a crushing 46-22 win.

"We weren't good on the night and they were excellent," Rassie Erasmus said. "Overall it was a great performance by them and a very average performance by us in a big game. They out and out deserved their win. I don't think there was anything wrong with our preparation. Maybe this is where we are. It hurts to lose but it hurts more not to give something back to our supporters."

So Scarlets have done for both of Ireland's top provinces in eight days, first stunning Leinster in the RDS and repeating the dose down the road in front of over 44,000, a record for this competition. It was the first Welsh title win in five seasons.

"It felt like every time we got the ball we gave it away, and every time they got it they scored," captain Peter O'Mahony said. "You see how good they are and how clinically they can finish. It's very difficult to compete if you're coughing up ball all the time."

It was Munster's fourth defeat in a Celtic final, the previous one coming against Glasgow in Belfast two seasons ago. They were warm favourites to win but were blitzed by Scarlets' turnovers and counter-attacks in a first half that saw the away side score four tries - it was 6-3 on tries by the finish.

The only consolation for Erasmus' side was that their Lions contingent of Conor Murray, Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander appeared to come through the game unscathed, as did the contingent going to US and Japan with Ireland next month.

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