Erasmus: ‘Maori win was special’

Date published: November 12 2016

LIMERICK, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 11:  The scoreboard displays the final score during the friendly match between Munster and Maori All Blacks at Thomond Park on November 11, 2016 in Limerick, Ireland. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus has praised his players after his inexperienced Munster side beat the Maori All Blacks 27-14 on Friday.

Munster were without nine first-choice players who are on international duty with Ireland while fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal also wasn’t available.

The Maori All Blacks scored 57 points against the USA a week ago, but a strong second half performance saw Munster home on a rainy night in Limerick.

Erasmus had picked five academy players for the game as the hosts outscored the visitors with four tries to two.

“It’s an incredibly proud night,” Erasmus said after the game.

“To field five academy players tonight, I’m just proud of the performance and then the result, it was an absolute team effort. To achieve that performance and get a victory over such a prestigious touring side is just incredible.

“It’s nice to play that well against a quality team with really skilful players, to get the win was such a bonus. And it’s great to see how much depth we’re developing.”

However, Maori coach Colin Cooper was left disappointed in his team’s performance and said they had struggled to come to terms with Munster’s jackaling over the ball, something New Zealand players are no longer permitted to do.

“It was a great game, a great experience and we’ll take a lot of learning from this going forward for our young players. I know Harlequins, who we play next week, will be having a good look at this,” Cooper said.

Maori All Blacks captain Ash Dixon said: “We didn’t really adapt quickly enough to the conditions. We played well in the last 20 minutes but we just left it too late to play catch-up.

“I take my hat off to Munster, they taught us how to play in those conditions and we’ll learn a lot of lessons from this. It’s great learning to come here and play in this type of atmosphere.”

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