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CJ Stander: 'It felt like we were playing against more than 15 men'

Munster had two tries disallowed in their defeat to Connacht tonight.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CJ STANDER HAS criticised tonight’s officials in the aftermath of Munster’s 24-20 defeat to Connacht at Thomond Park.

Johann van Graan’s side had two tries ruled out in the second-half, the first for Peter O’Mahony after an obstruction off the ball, the second, on 71 minutes, for Andrew Conway following a knock on by Damian de Allende. After a review, referee Dan Jones, disallowed each score, the critical moments in a topsy-turvy game.

Afterwards Stander told eir Sport:  ”It felt like we were playing against more than 15 men. I can say it now I’m done but it’s difficult for both sides.”

His head coach, van Graan, declined to add to Stander’s comments, saying he would follow the official protocols. The defeat, he conceded, was a blow, especially as they had started the Rainbow Cup campaign with victories over Leinster and Ulster.

connacht-players-celebrate-winning-the-game Connacht players celebrate their win. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Afterwards van Graan said: “Giving them that try straight away from the second-half kick-off was a big moment in the game and look, in terms of discipline, we just couldn’t get into the game, so we will have to go and review that. I would like to say well done to Andy Friend because since the two of us have coached against one another, it is the first time that he has got that win. So well done to him.

“We conceded that yellow card and conceded that second try (during that period when Shane Daly was in the bin). That is within our control and in these tight matches it is a factor. We ended up short and the frustrating thing is we were over that tryline twice and those tries could have made a big difference.”
One area that many thought would make a difference was the respective benches; Munster had some top class operators there, Conor Murray, Tadhg Beirne, Keith Earls, Joey Carbery. Still they lost.

“Look we got over the line but we could not get the points. Tonight we saw two evenly matched teams but they had a strong bench as well. In the second-half, when the rain came it took away a lot of continuity.

“You have got to take that defeat on the chin. We have to review that and move on.”

For Andy Friend, this victory for Connacht puts them back in the mix for a place in the Rainbow Cup final, although two bonus-point victories from their final two games will be needed if they are to make it. In all likelihood, they will need a couple of favours elsewhere, too.

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“It’s a proud day because there has been a lot going on this season and this last week,” said Friend afterwards. “The way we capitulated last Saturday, we weren’t proud of that. And then to come to Thomond Park against a pretty good Munster side, you know what lies ahead of you. I thought jersey one to 23 stood up there tonight. I thought they were immense.”

Last weekend they weren’t. They led 16-0 after 14 minutes against Leinster; then lost 50-21. Tonight’s win was some turnaround.

“We talked about it in the sheds afterwards and said that’s the best I’ve seen us play for 80 minutes. Listen, there were a few rockets placed up peoples’ backsides during the week but that’s the response you want. We have to make sure we can be proud of that.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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