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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 27 January 2021

'I didn't think he would go down that easy,' says Earls on Lowe and Leinster's penalty try

The Ireland and Munster wing was sin-binned 11 minutes into Saturday’s loss to Leinster and the decision to award a penalty try still rankles with him.

Earls was sent to the bin by referee Ben Whitehouse.
Earls was sent to the bin by referee Ben Whitehouse.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

ULTIMATELY, REELING IN a 14-0 deficit away to Leinster proved too tall an order for Munster on Saturday. And the incident that paved the way to that scoreline still rankled with Keith Earls this afternoon.

Earls was sin-binned by referee Ben Whitehouse for tackling James Lowe without the ball. Munster were punished to the full extent with both yellow card and an automatic seven-point penalty try awarded against them. Lowe went on to score his side’s second try before Earls returned from the bin.

“Obviously it was a split-second decision,” Earls said of his move to tackle the Kiwi wing.

Wearing a wry smile he added: “I do come into contact with him, but he’s a big enough lad, I didn’t think he would go down that easy. But look, if you go by the letter of the law, yeah, it probably is a yellow card but a penalty try? I don’t think so.

“Whether I was going to hold him up or the ball was going away from him, he was reaching but that’s the decision the referee made.”

It was the first of many telling game-tilting moments from Lowe, who showed both power and acrobatic ability to plant down two tries in the 30-22 win.

Though Munster came away without any points to add to the Pro14 table, they weren’t wanting for effort and look in good shape for another tilt at the Heineken Champions Cup, starting away to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday

“It’s the best we played in a long time,” Earls says.

“Obviously, last week against Ulster was great. To back it up against the European champions, albeit a few decisions not going our way, we put in a good account of ourselves.”

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Sean Farrell

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