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'Safety is paramount': Van Graan calls for clampdown on moving post-pads

In the lead up to Tommy O’Donnell’s try, Edinburgh defenders moved the safety pads out of Munster’s reach.

Van Graan in conversation with Steve Larkham pre-match.
Van Graan in conversation with Steve Larkham pre-match.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

MUNSTER COACH JOHANN van Graan has called for a clampdown on players lifting the post-pads in an attempt to stop the opposition scoring.

Van Graan said it could lead to players being injured, after Edinburgh twice lifted the pads as Munster laid siege to their line on Friday night, while he also stressed the need to maintain high values in the sport.

The double incident came in the 18-16 loss to Edinburgh when each of the pads were lifted as Munster drove hard at the visiting line in a 23-phase movement.

The move ended in a try for Tommy O’Donnell but stand-in captain Jack O’Donoghue brought the matter to the attention of Italian referee Marius Mitrea who let Edinburgh off with a warning.

“In my view you can’t touch the goalposts,” said van Graan. “It is the safety of the game, you pull that up. There’s been another incident in world rugby, that was a yellow and straight penalty try.

“We have got to keep with the values on the game. I’m not going to comment further on it but safety is paramount. If somebody hits the goalposts there and something happens to them… really frustrating.”

It was Munster’s first home loss in almost two years as a weakened side went down to a near full strength Edinburgh outfit, with a botched exit between Nick McCarthy and his half-back partner Ben Healy, who was making his first start, led to a converted try in the opening minutes.

Healy, who helped Ireland win the U-20 Six Nations Grand Slam this year, did not allow the incident — or a bloody nose he received in the warm-up — to impact on him and he landed all four kicks in addition to a big contribution from open play.

ben-healy-and-matt-scott Ben Healy has a cut. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

And van Graan believes Healy, a native of Kilruane in Tipperary who captained Glenstal Abbey to their only Munster Schools Senior Cup title last year, has a bright career ahead of him.

The safe thing would be just to go with JJ (Hanrahan). But we put Ben in there because we believe he is good enough and to come back with that composure kicking those penalties and conversions, that’s what you want. He has a long future ahead.

“And like all of our academy guys, they know when they are going to be picked and they wait for their chances and I think he took his chance.

“We have been working on our performance under pressure. When your nine and your ten make two mistakes like that in the opening minute you could panic but they were very calm under the posts. We just have a ‘next job’ mentality, put it behind us and that’s how you grow,” added van Graan.

- Originally published at 08.49

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John Fallon

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