Like all other top coaches, Rassie Erasmus knows that to win trophies you’ve got to win your home matches.
Having picked up points on the road against Llanelli Scarlets last week, Munster found out just what it feels to be on the wrong side of a score line at home at Musgrave Park last night.
The one-point defeat against a much improved Cardiff Blues outfit was a disappointment to say the least, especially given that they fell to a sucker-punch third try that could have been avoided.
Erasmus didn’t mask his disappointment at the result. “Overall, it was a disappointment and we also lost a few players, the negative is losing and we have to make up going forward. What we gained last week, we lost tonight.”
As Erasmus rues the injuries to Dave Foley, Tommy O’Donnell and Rory Scannell and hopes none are long term problems, he could recall the contribution of young Darren Sweetnam and perhaps Sweetnam’s back three partners Andrew Conway and Ronan O’Mahony in a first half when the visitors looked capable to running riot at times. “Taking one of the positives out of it, Sweets certainly played his part. We weren’t happy to defend but we were comfortable to defend. Sweetnam was good, as were some other of the younger guys.”
Sweetnam certainly enjoyed a decent first half, setting out his stall with two excellent early tackles to deny the visitors. He didn’t have much opportunity going forward until he pounced in the 10th minute, chasing a chip through from Ian Keatley and he managed to disrupt the defence enough to snatch possession. When he did wrestle the ball into his grasp he cleverly changed direction with a one-handed pass to Conway who went in for the score that Keatley converted.
Munster needed that because it brought them level with Cardiff who made much of the running, but Munster, through Sweetnam, Conway and O’Mahony accomplished much in putting pressure on the visitors. After Munster’s pack took over in the second half, Welsh international Sam Warburton expressed delight at the win. “It was tough, very physical, and I was gasping for breath at the end of my 30 minutes, but we got the win and we’ve had a very positive start to the campaign, so all is good at the moment.”
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