LEINSTER COACH JOE SCHMIDT told TheScore.ie in a post-match interview on Saturday that he had not seen the crucial phase of play that led to Casey Laulala’s try being chalked off for a forward pass late in his side’s 30-21 win over Munster.
“I did not see it at all,” Schmidt said. “What I would say is that the referee was very close to the action and he obviously made a ruling. I can’t comment on it because I seriously didn’t see it.
“I thought we defended well for a long series of rucks and phases. You’ve just got to trust his judgement.”
Sighted or unsighted, Schmidt was happy to get out of the game with a win after losing key players to injury and seeing Munster pile forward in the closing 15 minutes.
“Across the field they were putting pressure on us at that stage,” he said. “We had young Noel Reid playing his first big game out on the Aviva pitch and John Cooney the same. Being on the wing (as a scrum-half) is a difficult one for him.
“We had young Ian Madigan at full-back and Fionn Carr replacing Isa Nacewa so you lose a bit of experience out there, which is tough. We were starting to scramble and it didn’t help that Munster were starting to exert a bit of pressure up front.”
Another flanker makes the grade
The Aviva pitch cut up badly in sections and there was some consternation after the match when it was revealed that large sections of the pitch had to be relaid following recent gigs by Madonna and Lady Gaga. It was fortunate that, barring an ankle roll for Brian O’Driscoll, no serious injuries came as a result of the fragile surface.
With Kevin McLaughlin leaving the fray early due to a hyper-extension of the elbow, Schmidt was pleased with the efforts of replacement flanker Jordi Murphy, 21.
“I was delighted with the way Jordi went. He really dug in and made a couple of tremendous tackles.” Schmidt added:
On one occasion we turned the ball over because it was an impact tackle (on Donnacha Ryan) late on. He carried the ball fairly well and managed to stay off the sidelines a couple of times when they were looking to put him into touch.
“It just seems that this (Munster) game throws up players. I remember a couple of years ago we had Dominic Ryan who came through.
“You have to keep scrambling because we are getting pretty deep into the squad now. It is pretty satisfying when a guy comes in and does well like that.”
Heineken Cup week
With Exeter Chiefs putting 40 points on Conor O’Shea’s Harlequins on Saturday, Leinster will be aware that another testing 80 minutes await at the RDS on 13 October when the Heineken Cup kicks off.
“We were very much performance driven during the week, not results driven,” Schmidt revealed. “You can’t really control the result, you just have to try get your performance as accurate as it can be, with the right amount of intensity.
“We brought those first few things in the first 55, 60 minutes. That intensity did drop off near the end as we did lose our shape.”
There may be some less familiar faces lining out against Exeter but Schmidt will have them well drilled on the level of effort required.
Read: Reaction: Munster show plenty of fight but can’t stop Leinster charging through the front door