Media Reaction: Mistakes prove costly for Munster in Pro 12 Final

Reaction from the Media: Mistakes prove costly for Munster in Pro 12 Final

Munster were warned a week previously of the Scarlets attacking brilliance as they shook of Leinster with ease, yet no one could have expected what would happen at the Aviva last Saturday.

The Llanelli side tore the much vaunted Munster defence to shreds and had the game wrapped up inside the opening half hour with four terrific tries as Munster looked dead on their feet.

In the end the Welsh side sauntered to a 46-22 victory, with a couple of late Munster tries putting a gloss on the scoreline.

In his column in the Irish Independent, Tony Ward did not hold back as he described the manner of the victory.

I heard it suggested in the immediate aftermath of the Guinness Pro12 final that although the Scarlets deserved to win, the Welshmen were flattered by the scoreline. Get a grip.

This was a rugby massacre. I’ll try to be fair and constructive here. Munster were awful in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, every bit as bad as Leinster had been just around the corner against the same opposition eight days earlier.

Ward praised the Welsh side who were superb with ball in hand, contrasting to a Munster side who looked to kick the ball during most attacks.

Gerry Thornly was more sympathetic in his assessment of the Province’s performance, citing uncharacteristic errors as their downfall.

Writing in the Irish Times, Thornly said,

“Munster’s lack of intensity was compounded by a lack of accuracy with the ball, whether that be their poor pass-catch skills, carrying into contact or clearing out. This was manna from heaven for an uber confident, in-form Scarlets team, who announced their intention to go wide and look to run from anywhere on the pitch in the opening minutes.”

The day’s heavy rain had abated come kick-off but whereas Munster made the ball look like a bar of soap, the Scarlets’ passes stuck like glue.

He outlined the great progress the Scarlerts have made under head coach Wayne Pivac. The Kiwi who is into his third year in charge has transformed his side into a relentless attack who work tirelessly at the breakdown to regain possession.

Thornly touched on the fact that this was Erasmus’ first year in charge of the province and this will serve as a learning curve for the Springbok as he looks to emulate Pivac in Wales.

In the Irish Examiner, Brendan O’Brien focused on Munster’s second poor performance under pressure at the Aviva this season. As with the Saracens game, the Munster players did not seem to be able to cope with huge pressure placed on them.

Munster who, despite their limited attacking threat, are able to rely on a water-tight rearguard to save them in most contests. However, where the attack was once again unable to penetrate a gap, the defence cracked under the pressure on Landsdowne Road on Saturday.

O’Brien now feels Erasmus must look to implement a more attacking mentality in the team as he looks forward to a first full season in charge in the Autumn.

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