Thursday 19 July 2018

Van Graan rues 'basic errors' in Reds reverse

Cardiff Blues 25 Munster 18

Stephen Fitzgerald goes over to score Munster’s first try against Cardiff on Saturday night. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile
Stephen Fitzgerald goes over to score Munster’s first try against Cardiff on Saturday night. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile

Alex Bywater

Johann van Graan warned that his Munster team must right the wrongs from their defeat to Cardiff Blues or risk a second straight loss when they face Glasgow Warriors on Friday.

Munster produced a poor first-half performance littered with basic individual errors in the Welsh capital.

Van Graan: “The first half most definitely cost us the game. When you play away from home and you’re 19-0 down, you can’t be expected to win the game.” Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Van Graan: “The first half most definitely cost us the game. When you play away from home and you’re 19-0 down, you can’t be expected to win the game.” Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Van Graan's men turned around at the break 19-5 down, leaking three tries within eight minutes to Macauley Cook, Lloyd Williams and Owen Lane.

Scores from Chris Cloete and Stephen Fitzgerald and a Tyler Bleyendaal penalty with the last kick of the game ensured Munster left with a losing bonus point, but the visitors didn't do enough to earn victory.

"The first half most definitely cost us the game. When you play away from home and you're 19-0 down, you can't be expected to win the game," head coach Van Graan said.

"The disappointing thing was that it was all our own errors. Credit to the team because at half-time we reassessed and said that it wasn't good enough. I thought we did well to come back to within one score at 19-15 and we had a couple of opportunities to get in front, but didn't use them.

Rory Scannell in action. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile
Rory Scannell in action. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile

"At the end to come away with a losing bonus point, I think I'll take that."

Van Graan knows his team have plenty to improve upon against Glasgow, who like Munster, will be without most of their international stars.

"There are no serious injuries, just a few bumps and bruises," he said.

"Glasgow are playing fantastic rugby. You only had to look at their performance against the Cheetahs on Friday night to see that, and they've only lost once all season in the PRO14.

Ian Keatley of Munster. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile
Ian Keatley of Munster. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile

"We're coming up against the best team in the PRO14 on Friday night so we'll have to improve and that's what we're planning on doing this week.

"We'll look at this game emotionally and then come back in on Monday and start again at zero."

Munster, who are 16 points adrift of Glasgow in Conference A, threatened a comeback against the Blues after the hosts were reduced to 14 men following Matthew Rees' sin-binning for offside.

Cloete scored just before the break and when Rees departed, Fitzgerald finished in the right corner. Ian Keatley converted after kicking a penalty to make it 19-15.

Rory Scannell of Munster is tackled by Jarrod Evans of Cardiff Blues. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile
Rory Scannell of Munster is tackled by Jarrod Evans of Cardiff Blues. Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile

Attempt

That was as good as Munster's comeback attempt got.

Jarrod Evans kicked two penalties to seal things for the Blues, and although Bleyendaal's late kick left Munster to travel home with something to show for their efforts, Van Graan was downbeat.

"The mood of the squad is disappointment. We came here to win even though we always knew Cardiff were a good side," he said.

"The disappointing thing for us is we didn't make them work very hard. It was our own errors - and they were basic errors.

"I don't think it was a slow start. In the first eight minutes we played very well, we had a kick at goal and missed that and then we had a charge-down and kicked one ball straight into touch.

"It's not that we lost the territory battle or the possession battle."

Cardiff Blues - R Williams; Summerhill (Myhill 53-63), Smith, Lee-Lo, Lane; Evans, L Williams (T Williams 66); G Jenkins (capt) (Gill 61), Rees (Myhill 63), Filise (Lewis 55), Earle (Turnbull 61), Davies, Cook (Robinson 74), E Jenkins, N Williams

Munster - Fitzgerald; Sweetnam, Arnold, Scannell, O'Mahony (Zebo 56); Keatley (Bleyendaal 61), Williams (Hart 70); Kilcoyne (Cronin 54), Marshall (Sherry 62), Ryan (Archer 54), Grobler (Kleyn 54), O'Shea, O'Donoghue (capt), Cloete, Copeland (O'Callaghan 70)

Ref - S Berry (South Africa)

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