Seconds left, Leinster’s line a hair away and three points adrift. What would you have done?
David Kilcoyne’s decision to take a quick tap on Saturday didn’t work out. Ben Te’o produced a shuddering hit on Mike Sherry a split second later that spilled the ball forward and that was that.
Still, Anthony Foley backed his man after and so did his captain.
“The call went against us there,” said CJ Stander who highlighted only one of the infringements Leinster made in and around that desperate last chapter of play. “I don’t think they were back (far enough). It was a great call because it was keeping up the tempo.
“I would have quick-tapped it. If we got that try and Keats tapped over the conversion it was game over.”
Munster wouldn’t have moved up the PRO12 ladder had they bagged two points rather than one with a draw, but they would have returned south with some pep in their step and a more appropriate reward for their efforts.
Which isn’t to say Kilcoyne was wrong. All decisions are easy in hindsight, but both Foley and Stander were in unison when observing that Munster’s failings have morphed from a litany of small mistakes into a handful of poor decisions elsewhere.
That last act maybe typified that. Kilcoyne’s tap wasn’t the crux of their failure to pull through at the end. The inability of the forwards to recognise the yawning overlap out wide was the winning and losing of the game.
They have two weeks now to eradicate all that before a trip to the Sportsground where they lost last season for the first time in six visits. Awaiting will be a Connacht side that is in France this weekend for a Challenge Cup quarter-final against Grenoble.
Week on or week off? Which is better? “You’d rather play. Recovery-wise it will be great but you want to play week in and week out. They will have a big match against Grenoble.”
Munster could still mathematically make the top four and the PRO12 play-offs and they could just as easily slip out of the top six and outside the Champions Cup qualification slots. An element of fear will stalk them now, maybe even drive them.
“Fear is a great motivator,” said Stander. “We will start speaking of that going into the next two weeks. We are playing for scraps and you have to win the next few matches.”
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