MUNSTER HOOKER DAMIEN Varley, who stood in as captain in the absence of Peter O’Mahony, felt his side deserved more reward for a dominant scrum during the 22-18 defeat to Leinster in Dublin this evening.
There were several penalties for both sides at the scrum, as referee Alain Rolland pinged each front row for a range of offences. From Varley’s point of view, those decisions did not reflect the superiority of Munster’s drive.
“I don’t think it’s even in question. I think we deserved a lot more reward from the scrum, that we didn’t get. Leinster are obviously a huge, physical side but we were always going forward, and I think we should have gotten a few more penalties.
Unfortunately, talking to Alain, he didn’t agree with me on a lot of them, but that’s the nature of the game. I think it’s very visible that we were extremely dominant in the game with them. They were trying to collapse it an awful lot of the time and if they weren’t doing that, they were going backwards. I think it’s very visible.”
The 30-year-old, who was replaced in the second half after a long-standing foot problem flared up, also had doubt about some of the refereeing around the breakdown. Munster loosehead Dave Kilcoyne was sin-binned in the second half, but Leinster did not face similar sanctions.
“I think sometimes it was a bit one-sided. We obviously got a man in the bin for not rolling away, but they were at it a good bit themselves. Look, that’s something we need to look at. I’ll need to look back on the video and see what was happening.”
Varley stressed that despite attention turning swiftly to next weekend’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Toulouse at Thomond Park, Munster will have some regrets.
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“It’s extremely disappointing. I think no matter what, losing up here in this kind of derby game is disappointing, and probably because I feel we played so well in a lot of areas of the game.
“I’m probably extremely disappointed that we didn’t get the rewards from our scrummaging that we deserved. Having said that, we have to park it and move on. We have a quarter-final of the European Cup next weekend. We have to park it and move on.”
Positives moving forward
While pointing out that Munster’s discipline had let them down at the Aviva Stadium, Varley finished by stating his belief that Rob Penney’s side can take real positives in defeat.
Absolutely. We lost from a score point of view, but there’s an awful lot of positives to take. I thought our defence was outstanding most of the night. Unfortunately, we leaked a try.
“Our attack, I thought, was very dangerous when we pulled a few phases together. And our set-piece, line-out and scrum, we were extremely dominant. There’s an awful lot of positives to be taken from it.
“Obviously don’t take my mood to be anything more than that. It’s disappointing to lose, but there are so many positives going into next week.”