Foley: We didn't fire a shot

Foley: We didn't fire a shot

Munster head coach Anthony Foley says his team "didn’t turn up at times" today after suffering their heaviest European defeat since losing 60-19 to Toulouse during the 1996-97 season.

Munster are effectively out of the European Champions Cup after the twice European champions were destroyed 33-10 at Allianz Park today.

And their failure to reach the last-eight, which should be confirmed later today after Clermont’s game against Sale Sharks, is only the second time in the last 17 European campaigns for them to experience such misery.

Saracens took a giant stride towards the quarter-finals after delivering arguably their most complete performance of the season.

Wings Chris Wyles and Chris Ashton scored first-half tries, before Ashton added a second touchdown after the break, while Owen Farrell kicked four penalties and three conversions for an 18-point haul.

French giants Clermont Auvergne remain favourites to win Pool One – they host Saracens on Sunday week – but it is probable that one of three best runners-up spots in terms of last-eight qualification will be filled by either club.

And after suffering home and away defeats against Clermont in December, it is the first time for Munster to be on the receiving end of three successive European losses.

Centre Denis Hurley’s late try, plus an Ian Keatley conversion and penalty, could not mask Munster deficiencies, as Saracens overpowered them up front and won an overwhelming majority of midfield collisions.

“It was very disappointing. We didn’t turn up at times,” Munster head coach Anthony Foley said.

“If you look at their scores, they probably started with a big error by us.

“We didn’t fire a shot, particularly early on in such an important game for us with the tournament on the line.

“With a result like that, we don’t get out of our group. We need to address a few things and make sure that we turn up next weekend (against Sale) and put in a performance.

“We were dropping passes, we were passing the ball to fresh air.

“There is a lot of character in the team and a lot of good players. It is just unfortunate that we played like we did today.”

Saracens boss Mark McCall hailed a “phenomenal” performance by England number eight Billy Vunipola.

And Vunipola, who looks set to replace broken leg victim Ben Morgan in England’s starting line-up for the RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff in February 6, produced an inspired display.

“Billy was phenomenal today,” Saracens rugby director McCall said.

“He was a force of nature in attack and defence, but I thought we had outstanding performances right through the group.

“(Scrum-half) Richard Wigglesworth was magnificent – he set the pace and tone of the match – and Chris Ashton was outstanding – not his two tries, which were good – but some of his kicking game early on allowed us to control things.

“There is a small sense of frustration that we didn’t get the fourth try (and bonus point), but I thought it was a really good performance.

“We are in a position where we go to Clermont, and if we win the match, we win the pool. That is what our intention is going to be.”

And Wigglesworth added: “That was us out there. We had a great week’s preparation, and everyone was excited to be out there.

“Munster are a massive momentum team, but I thought we controlled it brilliantly. It was a great feeling.”

More in this Section

Bulgaria national coach Krasimir Balakov and BFU committee resign – reportsBulgaria national coach Krasimir Balakov and BFU committee resign – reports

Tottenham to appear in Amazon documentaryTottenham to appear in Amazon documentary

Klopp blocks out the noise as Liverpool prepare for Old Trafford tripKlopp blocks out the noise as Liverpool prepare for Old Trafford trip

Stirling and Balbirnie star as Ireland brush aside Hong Kong in opening World Cup qualifierStirling and Balbirnie star as Ireland brush aside Hong Kong in opening World Cup qualifier


Lifestyle

It never ceases to stop me in my tracks when I hear my husband intone to our children one of the oft overused phrases from my stockpile of, “Can you just not?” categories.Lindsay Woods: If my children feel I’m doing it wrong then I must be doing it right

In honour of our Made in Munster special edition, Joe McNamee creates a four-course meal showcasing the best produce from the province. And there’s a lot to celebrate.The Menu's Made in Munster six course dinner - One from each county

More From The Irish Examiner