'You can only progress so much in a year. It will only come with time'

Rassie Erasmus knows Munster aren’t where they need to be but he’s positive they will grow.

RASSIE ERASMUS SAID Munster were “totally outplayed” in their Guinness Pro12 final defeat to the Scarlets, but he remains positive that the province are on the right track to be more competitive next season.

The southern province suffered a painful 46-22 defeat at the Aviva Stadium this evening to ensure that what had been a strong season finished on a crushingly disappointing note.

Duncan Williams, Stephen Archer, Donnacha Ryan and Francis Saili dejected after the game Munster watch on as Scarlets lift their trophy. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Munster’s attacking game was poor in the key moments of the contest, and their game plan and intent looked as limited as it had in the Champions Cup semi-final loss to Saracens.

Erasmus has now completed his first season in charge of Munster and believes that genuine progress has been made despite this final defeat.

The South African director of rugby insists that a full pre-season will allow his team to add to their attacking game and make them a more complete team in 2017/18.

“We probably should work a lot on that in the pre-season,” said Erasmus. “You can only change so much in two months of pre-season [last summer] and then during the season it’s tough to change a lot of things.

We had to try and get in here and be a competitive team. We were a team which wasn’t rated at all at the beginning of the season. We had to try to be competitive, then try to build a winning culture, then try to get into play-offs.

“You can only progress so much in a year and change so much in year. Obviously, if you evolved so much in 10 months, then hopefully in the next 10 or 12 months we can go a step further and get more confidence and more strings in our bow.

“That will only come with time. But we thought before this game that we were really in with a chance. We really thought so, but on the day they totally outplayed us.”

Munster were far from their best on the big occasion at the Aviva Stadium and even if there is further progress to come next season, the nature of this defeat to the Scarlets will rankle with the squad over the summer months.

Donnacha Ryan dejected after the game Donnacha Ryan's time with Munster ended in defeat. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Erasmus insisted that Munster’s preparation for the final had been ideal, and stressed that Munster’s players were mentally in the right place for the tie.

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“If we could do the week over again, I would probably do it the same because it wasn’t over emotional, it was really a normal week. We were very focused, a lot of analysis – which we obviously got wrong on a lot of stuff – and they just executed really well on the day.

“No, I don’t think we did anything wrong, maybe this is just where we are. It’s tough to say you’re proud of a team when you’ve got a 40-point hiding, but this team has gone through a lot this year in various stages, on and off the field.

“Tonight was just one step too far. We’ve grown in Europe to the semi-final and we’ve grown in the Pro12 to the final. The end of the story is that they were just better than us.

“I think we’re not there where we need to be and that’s not the nicest thing to say but that’s the true story.”

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Murray Kinsella

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