'We can't afford another performance like this' - Rowntree slams sloppy Munster

‘We had British Lions on the field but whoever has got the shirt, we just expected more accuracy.’

Graham Rowntree (file pic).
Graham Rowntree (file pic).
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

GRAHAM ROWNTREE SLAMMED the performance of his Munster side as they suffered the ignominy of becoming the first side the Dragons have beaten at home for 17 months.

This 23-17 defeat was a painful one to take for Rowntree whose side were outmuscled by a Dragons outfit who were a lot more physical and accurate than the Irish province. Munster have lost their opening two United Rugby Championship fixtures, after they got beaten by Cardiff last weekend, and Rowntree admits the level of their performance was unacceptable.

“I’m not happy,” said the Munster head coach.

I told the lads I’m not happy with our discipline, inaccuracy, the way we were forcing things and our error count. I can’t have this.

“I was surprised about our inaccuracy particularly going into their 22′, and our ability to keep the ball in that key area.

“That really shocked me, I’ll be honest with you. Whoever you play, you’re going to have a challenge — particularly when you play away from home, regardless of what’s happened in the Dragons camp this week.

“I expected better in terms of the stuff we can do better. It was just so poor.

“We had eight turnovers in the first half and were ill-disciplined. We lost lineouts, knocked on and we never got a foothold in the game.

“We had to address that and be patient. Just before half-time we sorted that out but in the second half we fell away in all those areas of the game, especially going into their 22′.

“We were just sloppy.”

Munster were punished by the boot of their former out-half JJ Hanrahan who kicked 18 points and controlled the game extremely well. He put the Dragons into an early 15-3 lead before two quick Munster tries out of nowhere from Stephen Archer, and Ben Healy gave the visitors a 17-15 lead at the interval.

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But they were harassed into making several errors in the second-half while they were blown away at the breakdown. Dragons wing Rio Dyer scored a sensational long-range try to win the game, with Jack O’Donoghue also sent to the sin bin late on.

Rowntree was at a loss to explain Munster’s lack of energy and inability to do the basics right, but he made it very clear they must bounce back against Zebre in Cork next week.

“The next game is always must-win and we have to be better against Zebre,” said Rowntree.

We have a very large and competitive squad. We had British Lions on the field but whoever has got the shirt, we just expected more accuracy.

“We can’t afford another performance like this.”

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