Rassie Erasmus ahead of European campaign opener – “We must get our discipline right”.

Munster open their Champions Cup campaign against Castres Olympique in France this weekend following a narrow defeat by provincial rivals Leinster in their last domestic outing. The reds outscored Leinster three tries to two despite having less possession but one major factor in the 23-17 loss at the Aviva was Munster’s double-digit penalty count.

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus agrees that a lack of discipline cost his side opportunities that could have seen them come away with a rare win in the capital, he insists it’s something that they must get right.

“Discipline is something you don’t even have to work at, you must just get it right. That cost us opportunities. We’ll try and rectify that. We got a bonus point out of it, we’d love to win but you can’t win if you concede so many penalties.”

The penalties conceded on the day were for a variety of different offences, the South African is confident that it is something that can be rectified as his side embarks on another European campaign, however, he was surprised that Leinster got on the wrong side of the referee just once in 60 minutes.

“The penalties were in different areas there was one at the scrum, one at the breakdown, one at offside and one for no arms tackle, it was a variety of penalties it wasn’t in a certain area so we’ll sort that out. There were one or two that were questionable but the thing that is questionable for me is how Leinster can only concede one in 60 minutes, that’s a tough one. If they can do it we can do it so we must get our discipline right, or understand the referee a bit better on the day.”

This Sunday Matthew Carley is tasked with overseeing the Champions Cup showdown between Munster and Castre at Stade Pierre-Antoine. Erasmus points out that referees are only human and that 50/50 decisions can be swayed either way depending on how a team treats the referee. Munster have past experiences with Carley and Rassie is content that it is to be the Englishman who refs the game.

“You should give the respect that the referee demands and you shouldn’t get the referee frustrated with you because then sometimes the fifty fifties go against you, they’re normal human beings they’ve got feelings and they don’t like it when you talk back to them. We’ve had him before I think he’s a pretty good referee, he’s been at the big stage and we’re really comfortable with him, although it’s going to be tough for him not to be intimidated by the crowd.”

The headlines after Munster’s loss to Leinster were dominated by Peter O’Mahony’s post-match interview with former Leinster captain Reggie Corrigan. Erasmus believes that his captain was simply frustrated following a tough loss and does not think that his side lacked any intensity.

“I think Peter was just tired, we just lost the game and there was 6 points in it. If somebody questions the intensity? Most sides go to the Aviva and get smashed, Northampton lost by 50 points last year. It definitely wasn’t a lack of intensity, it was discipline that cost us the game and he was just frustrated and he said what was in his heart and that’s fine.”