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'Obviously the referee tries his best': Erasmus refuses to make excuses for Munster defeat

The southern province were found wanting at the Aviva Stadium, slipping to a third straight defeat to their rivals.

Conor Murray and Munster dejected at full-time.
Conor Murray and Munster dejected at full-time.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IF RASSIE ERASMUS wasn’t fully aware of the size of the task facing him at Munster, he must now surely appreciate the work that must be done to restore the province to its former glories.

On a bitterly disappointing afternoon at the Aviva Stadium, Erasmus, Munster’s new Director of Rugby, watched on as his side made a series of unforced errors to gift Leinster a 25-14 interpro victory.

After starting the season in solid, if not spectacular, fashion this was something of a reality check for the southern province ahead of a trip to Racing 92 next weekend.

Isa Nacewa’s double, either side of half-time, proved crucial, although his second score left Munster incensed after Rob Kearney’s pass clearly went forward in the build-up.

Nevertheless, Erasmus had few complaints afterwards, maintaining that his side simply weren’t good enough on the day to come out of a derby fixture with any reward.

“Disappointment, it’s definitely something different for me to experience and to be privileged to play in a game like this and feel what it’s like,” the South African said.

“Obviously it’s a great scene and spectacle and for some of the young guys it was something new. So disappointing to lose it and also not get a bonus point out of it but then again Leinster deserved to win.

“If you give a try away from a scrum and another try on a platter from knocking on the ball against a quality team like Leinster you’re probably going to lose the game by 14 points. If you give them 14 points on a platter.

Munster’s Jaco Taute scores a try as he is tackled by Leinster’s Joey Carbery Jaco Tuite goes over for a late consolation try. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“On an intensity level it was a step-up but simple errors and that’s the disappointing side of it. We made those errors and they didn’t.”

When asked about Dave Wilkinson’s decision not to refer Nacewa’s try to the Television Match Official, Erasmus refused to make any excuses for the result.

“To be honest the last thing I should do is comment on the refereeing, obviously the referee tries his best,” he added.

“The question is when Billy [Holland] asked was it forward and he didn’t refer it but the referee didn’t think it was forward and we shouldn’t be relying on them throwing forward passes to win the game. If he had referred it it might not have been one but we shouldn’t rely on that to win games.”

While Munster will make the return journey home licking their wounds, they will also have to assess the physical damage of an intense Pro12 clash.

With four big weeks of the season coming up, the sight of Keith Earls and Dave Kilcoyne going off carrying knocks was less than ideal while Peter O’Mahony lasted just 40 minutes on his first start back.

Erasmus, however, delivered an encouraging injury update in his post-match press conference.

“Peter was only going to play 40 minutes, it was part of his rehab plan,” he explained.

“We had to stick to that and he’s fine. Looks like at this stage Dave Kilcoyne is fine with his head knock so it’s not looking too bad on that front.”

And on Earls’ shoulder injury?

“He’s okay, he’s okay. Nothing since he came off so he should be fine.”

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Nacewa’s double hands Leinster the interpro bragging rights over abject Munster

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Ryan Bailey

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