MUNSTER COACH ROB PENNEY tried his best to steer clear of questioning the match officials over the late decision to deny Casey Laulala a try but he was perplexed by the decision.
With Munster trailing by nine points but attacking strongly in the 73rd minute, Keith Earls surged forward before being hauled down just shy of the line.
As a mass of players descended on the line, the ball popped up to Laulala who dived over for a try that, without consultation, was ruled out by referee Leighton Hodges.
“My understanding, ” he told TheScore.ie, “is that if a defensive players rips the ball free then it is not a loss forward.”
“I’m not saying that is what actually happened but what I would have been interested in was if we had’ve gone to a TMO and had a good look at it, as opposed to the arbitrary decision that was made,” he added.
“But we’re all learning and maybe that is something to look at for the future.”
Lack of forward momentum
Penney was diappointed that his team could not put the squeeze on their opponents until too late in the piece.
He said, “Although there were a number of poor defensive elements in our game today, the disappointing thing for me was our inability to build pressure when we had the ball. That is an area that we focused on this week so that is why I’m a bit disappointed with that aspect of our game.” He added:
We were able to build pressure near the end because we were able to hold onto the ball and build it up through a few phases. We weren’t able to do that earlier on in the game.
“I thought the players adapted well and got a bit of belief, which was good for us. Tight game, nine points, but really disappointing.”
The New Zealander tried to take some positives out of the loss and said he was happy with his side’s preparation and commitment ahead of their biggest game of the season to date.
“On the downside, mainly, was our error rate. We coughed up too much ball and missed too many tackles at crucial times. That didn’t let the pressure we were building manifest itself into points.”