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Dublin: 9°C Thursday 22 April 2021

Van Graan: 'I am tremendously proud - our players gave everything'

Munster fell short in a thriller.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER COACH JOHANN Van Graan refused to criticise referee Wayne Barnes after his team crashed out of Europe today.

Three decisions – one to award a late try to Antoine Dupont, another to disallow a score for Andrew Conway and a third, when Tadhg Beirne was fouled by Francois Cros – didn’t go Munster’s way. Nor did the result and so, for a second year in a row, they have failed to reach the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

“Firstly, all 23 of our guys gave it their all,” said Van Graan. “It’s very disappointing to lose an incredible game of rugby but I am incredibly proud of the lads today. We gave it our best short and we literally came up short by one try.

“We went for the try, on the forward pass, I think it was from Keith (Earls) to Andrew (Conway) and we got three points. Hopefully we would have got seven there.

“I think that was a big swing there because there were a lot of seven pointers. But give credit where credit is due, well done to Toulouse.”

On the issue of Beirne’s rib injury, following Cros’ challenge and Dupont’s second try, which was the difference between the sides, Van Graan opted not to comment. “Look, there were a few incidents in the game that we will review and then we will follow the normal protocols with Joel Jutge on Monday,” he said.

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The game turned in the final quarter when Toulouse emptied their bench. “I thought their replacements did well but I thought ours did too. They’ve got such an amount of power. I think we handled their scrum exceptionally well. That’s where they get a lot of access against teams to go to the corner.

“Plus, I felt we stuck to the task of stopping their maul, their five yard opportunities and the try that they scored off that line-out, I don’t think Billy Holland could go more to his right than he did.”

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Garry Doyle

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