Thursday 23 November 2017

We were dreadful, admits relieved Erasmus

Cardiff 13-23 Munster

Rory Scannell of Munster Photo: Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile
Rory Scannell of Munster Photo: Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile

Alex Bywater

Rassie Erasmus described Munster's performance as "dreadful" as they eked out a 23-13 away win over Cardiff Blues.

Rory Scannell's late drop-goal and a try from Conor Oliver secured another last-gasp success over Welsh opposition, just weeks after the Reds had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Ospreys.

Munster's Conor Oliver scores a try Photo: Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile
Munster's Conor Oliver scores a try Photo: Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile

Although this was another example of the gritty resilience within this Munster squad - after the loss of injured out-half Ian Keatley in the 21st minute they still came home with the spoils - Erasmus was not a happy man as he challenged his players to improve.

"It was not a good performance. It was actually a dreadful performance because of the weather, but we were gutsy," Erasmus said.

"Relieved is the word to describe it. It was a see-saw game and with the conditions it could have gone either way. But the guys showed a lot of composure and I'm really happy with the win.

"I was nervous all the time, even when we were 10 points ahead late on and we had a kick charged down. It was probably not one of our best performances, but emotionally and belief-wise it was a great display."

Francis Saili of Munster is tackled by Josh Navidi (left) and Nick Williams of Cardiff Blues Photo: Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile
Francis Saili of Munster is tackled by Josh Navidi (left) and Nick Williams of Cardiff Blues Photo: Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile

Erasmus' post-match comments were perhaps a little harsh given Munster dominated the game's final quarter in the Welsh capital.

They had turned around 6-3 down after playing into a stiff breeze, Scannell kicking a penalty in response to two shots at goal from Steven Shingler. Scannell had taken over kicking duties and stepped into out-half after Keatley hobbled off.

Erasmus confirmed scans will determine the extent of Keatley's problem, but in his absence Munster grew into the game after the break.

With conditions in their favour the visitors dominated the ball, but were unable to close the game out until the final few minutes.

Willis Halaholo was yellow carded for the Blues for a high shot on Andrew Conway and then two quick tries from Aled Summerhill and Francis Saili - who had replaced Keatley - kept the scoreboard moving. Scannell converted Saili's effort and then added a penalty to make it 13-13.

By that stage Munster were the dominant force as they monopolised territory and possession.

Scannell kept the Blues penned inside their own half and they could not escape. The 23-year-old then struck a drop-goal to put Munster ahead and converted Oliver's effort.

Leinster's thrashing of Scarlets means that despite their win in Cardiff, Munster remain third.

"We have an important A game coming up, which is a quarter-final (against Ulster A), so some guys will get an opportunity in that," added Erasmus.

CARDIFF BLUES: Morgan (R Williams 76); Summerhill, Halaholo (Smith 56), Shingler, James; Anscombe, L Williams; Domachowski (Thomas 76), Rees (Myhill 67), Peikrishvili (Filise 71), Earle, Hoeata, Cook, Navidi, N Williams (Bennett 71)

MUNSTER: Conway; Sweetnam, Taute, Scannell, O'Mahony; Keatley (Saili 20, Goggin 78), Williams; Kilcoyne, Marshall (O'Byrne 67), Archer, O'Shea (Oliver 46), Holland (capt), O'Callaghan, O'Donnell, Copeland (Wycherley 67)

REF: M Adamson (Scotland)

Irish Independent

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