Beirne: I genuinely thought we came here to win

Tadhg Beirne may be a new signing for Munster this season but he shared the pain of consecutive semi-final defeats in Coventry at the weekend.

While Munster were losing for the second year in a row at the last-four stage, going down to Racing 92 in Bordeaux in April 2018, Beirne was getting the same sinking feeling as a Scarlets player when the Wales region were outclassed by eventual champions Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.

Together, Beirne and Munster suffered the heartache of a European semi-final setback at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday as they were beaten 32-16 by Saracens.

The second row, a Munster player of the year nominee alongside fellow new signing Joey Carbery and captain Peter O’Mahony, does feel there is potential within the provincial squad to eventually take the next step and reach a Champions Cup final.

“Of course I do,” said Beirne. “With the group of players here I genuinely thought we came here to win and we had a good shot at it.

“We’re disappointed it didn’t go that way. Hopefully we can do the same again next year to get here and then put in a better performance.

“I’d say we can learn from this experience but Munster have been here a few times. It’s my second time here and it’s not a nice feeling.

“Every time this does happen you take a lot away from the losses.”

Beirne echoed his head coach Johann van Graan and captain O’Mahony in admitting Munster had lost to deserving winners in Saracens.

It’s disappointing, we were beaten by the better side at the end of the day and couldn’t deal with them in the end. Credit to them, so congratulations to Sarries.

“They won the aerial battle at the start and then they were getting gainline and once they got that gainline it was hard to stop them.

“We’ll probably look back and be disappointed with certain areas. I probably will be myself but that’s the way it goes.”

Replacement back-row Arno Botha added his respect for the Saracens performance. “They were just clinical, their kicking game was on point, and they got those balls back,” Botha said.

“It’s the thing we focused on and we knew it was coming but on the day, they got it out better. They kept the ball when they needed to keep the ball, they got their kicks back, so it’s those small things that went their way.

“It’s not like we didn’t go out there to perform today. Everyone went at 110%, we knew it was going to take that, semi-finals are tough. It was just that on the day they go it.”

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