Thursday 27 June 2019

Van Graan fumes over ref's lack of consistency

Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Munster were left seething over two controversial calls from referee Ben Whitehouse during their 30-22 defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.

Keith Earls was yellow-carded in the tenth minute for tackling James Lowe as he was about to receive a pass from Jamison Gibson-Park with the try-line beckoning.

And, in the second-half, Earls was denied a try of his own when, despite breaking the cover from inside his own 22, the referee and his assistant called the play back after ruling Sam Arnold had deliberately knocked on while tackling Robbie Henshaw.

"The first one cost us 14 points," said Munster coach Johann van Graan. "We've worked very hard on composure when we go two scores behind and we did fantastically well to come back to 14-12.

"Then in the 42nd minute, it was a 14-point swing. We got called back with a certain try, a call was made and the opposition go to the corner and score a try.

"I guess all you can say is you want consistency. For the first one, if the referee say there was interference with the blue player, the laws of the game decree it is a penalty try and a yellow card so we stick with that decision. We got beaten by the better team on a brilliant occasion for Irish rugby. Unfortunately, certain calls went against us in the game."

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony refused to blame Stephen Archer for conceding the late penalty that ensured Leinster could close the game out with a three-pointer from Ross Byrne. On the controversial Earls call, O'Mahony said: "I saw a brief replay of it and I can't really comment until I've seen it properly."

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen was also unable to add any clarity. "There were a few different things going on at the time but I'd have to look at it again, it looked like maybe Tadhg Beirne had got a hand in or something but I wasn't hooked up to the ref mic so it's something to look at again."

Leinster made 11 changes but coach Cullen still declared that their Aviva win came after an "imperfect performance".

"We're pleased with the result but there are certainly aspects we can look at. James Lowe caused a bit of damage down the left to give us a bit of a cushion and then I thought Ross Byrne controlled the game quite well," he said.

"A few players have got more game-time like Josh van der Flier, Seán O'Brien and Dan Leavy and you'd be nervous about the guys coming into an intense game like this but they did well and to do so with a winning result is a bonus."

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