DESPITE THE BITTER nature of the defeat, the agonising way in which they lost out to their inter-provincial rivals, Ulster still managed to show their class at the Kingspan Stadium tonight.
After losing 15-14 on account of Rory Scannell’s late drop-goal, Ulster captain Rob Herring and some of his men grabbed a crate of beer and crossed the corridor to share a moment with Munster in memory of Anthony Foley.
Speaking after the game at Kingspan Stadium, Munster’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus lauded the Ulstermen.
“From last week with the funeral, Les Kiss was down, Rory Best was there, the supporters wanted to help up,” said Erasmus.
“I have so much respect for Irish people from the last two weeks. I always had respect for them, but I just couldn’t believe the way they stand for each other here.
From before the game, to after the game, it’s always tough when you lose a game. But they came in there with a few protein shakes and beers afterwards into our team room and offered them to the guys.
“That takes special men to do that, so they obviously have a great spirit here. It’s not for nothing that they were leaders of the log.
“It’s humbling to know this, because it doesn’t really happen in professional rugby anymore with guys coming over to your changing room to share a beer with you. It was nice.”
Ulster this week revealed a new plaque in the away changing room at Kingspan Stadium in memory of Foley.
Director of rugby Kiss said that the post-match beer was just another way for Ulster to pay their respects.
“We just made a commitment beforehand that whatever happened, we’d do it,” said Kiss. “As you know, we put the plaque up there for Axel and it was just a gesture to stand with him and have a beer and a chat.
While it’s a battle out there and you go at each other, there are some things that are bigger and better than the game.
“One of those things is that we go in there and respect that, because they’ve been through some tough times.
“We did it out of respect and to honour Axel, really, and it’s just a shame that the beer wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked it to be.”