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Van Graan gives his backing to Carbery after out-half’s mixed night

The Munster No10 won the game with a late conversion just minutes after seeing his clearance kick charged down for a Connacht try.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

AFTER 70 MINUTES of last night’s inter-pro, Joey Carbery would have known his kick was liable to be the game’s decisive moment.

But not in a good way. The kick in question was blocked down by Carbery’s opposite number, Jack Carty, who raced ahead to gather it and score.

In that brief moment, the queue behind Johnny Sexton had shifted, Carbery moving down a place, Carty moving up.

And then, as the clock moved onto 78 minutes and 56 seconds, the dynamics shifted once more, Carbery, this time, standing over a kick which could win Munster the game rather than lose it. He nailed it.

Still, you wonder how he feels about his performance this morning. So much of what he did last night was good; but one key incident was terrible. And it nearly cost Munster the match.

“I haven’t specifically spoken to Joey,” said Munster coach, Johann van Graan, an hour after the game. “In every match, especially when you are a ten, you’ve got up and down moments. The important thing for him mentally is that he stayed in the game and that is the sign of a class player.

jack-carty-breaks-free-to-score-his-sides-second-try Carty collects Carbery's kick and scores. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“We saw that late on when he made that conversion. It is a 23-man game and it took everyone to get us into that position.

“I’m glad that its finished. It was a very physical interpro. Both sides gave it all they got and while I’m thrilled that we won, small margins determined the result.

“That’s the beauty of Irish rugby. We weren’t accurate enough in the first half specifically but good teams score when it matters and the try before half-time was a big moment.

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“We had a very strong wind in the second half and from a territory point of view we managed it pretty well and managed to come back from the charge down and finish the game pretty well.”

Connacht’s head coach, Andy Friend, believed Munster’s first try, scored just before half-time, should have been disallowed for offside. When asked if fortune had favoured him, van Graan declined to comment specifically on whether Tadhg Beirne had taken up an illegal position when he hacked the ball forward in the lead-up to Chris Cloete’s try.

“No, we haven’t delved into that yet,” said Beirne. “This game is about small margins and, like every weekend, sides have certain calls that go for and against them. We will review the game as normal on Monday and see if we have any issues.”

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Garry Doyle

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