Leinster coach Matt O’Connor says he was gutted to leave Limerick with nothing last night in the Rabo Direct Pro 12.
He saw his defending Champions go down to arch rivals Munster at Thomond Park and he was quick to point to some referee decisions by Romain Poite of France as an indicator of where the game was lost.
After two penalties from Ian Madigan which saw the visitors take a six point lead, Munster were hot on their tails and on 32 minutes when Ian Keatley was finally able to add some points through a penalty, you could feel a slight shift in power.
Leinster found themselves down to 10 men shortly after Keatley’s penalty with Ian Madigan going to the bin for coming offside and kicking away a ball inside the Leinster five meter area. From that Munster took full advantage and when there was a penalty in the offing, Keatley gave a cross-field kick a go which found Keith Earls who scored the try they had been so patient for.
Keatley was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over in the second half, even with Leinster having their own penalties to secure the 19-15 win.
This was O’Connor’s first taste of an inter-provincial derby and admits he was clearly disappointed.
“I think the attitude we showed was really good, we let ourselves down a little bit and we didn’t take our chances to score which is always going to be decisive.”
Since the IRB moved to change the laws at the scrum to include the ‘Crouch – Bind – Set’ call, referees judgement and interpretation of the set piece is coming under fire and O’Connor reckons Poite got a lot wrong in the scrum, not only with his own side but for Munster too.
“There were three or four scrums there that were genuine re-sets – There were a couple of penalties that we got and a few that Munster got that given the new adjustment with the set up that you would like them to re-set those.”
“We are no further down the track to having ball to play off – It’s a genuine lottery and it’s deciding games which is disappointing.” O’Connor added.
O’Connor knows his side had plenty of chances to win but also admits it was always going to be hard to finish the first half and start the second, minus one person who was in the sin bin.
“You lose your ten for 10 minutes and you end up chasing the game, you’re into the wind and it changes the dynamic but I think we created enough opportunities to win the game, we just didn’t take them.”
Leinster must now dust themselves down and prepare for their Heineken Cup opener against the Ospreys next week – A side who they drew against in the RDS on match week two.
Depending on the results of scans they could be without both Brian O’Driscoll and Lote Tuqiri who are Leinster’s only main concerns.