Munster boss Johann van Graan and his charges were left frustrated after they suffered a 13-10 defeat in Saturday’s PRO14 derby against Leinster at Thomond Park.
Despite holding the upper hand for most of the PRO14 derby, an excellent try from Jordan Larmour clinched Leinster’s win and, in doing so, the champions secured their fifth successive victory over their arch rivals.
“The players gave it everything out there, a lot of work-rate, effort and belief,” Van Graan told Eir Sport.
“It was small margins, that ball hits the post on the stroke of half-time. We didn’t convert that opportunity.
“Credit to them, a special try, one of our guys slipped and the bounce goes their way. We came up against the champions tonight and we were literally a penalty away, which is incredibly frustrating. There’s a lot of hurt in the dressing room.
“We put our heart into it and came up short. We hate to lose but we were just one moment short of a victory. Fair play to Leinster.”
🔵 It was Leinster who once again claimed the derby spoils. #MUNvLEI
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) January 23, 2021
Munster raced into a 10-0 lead early in the first half courtesy of a converted Tadhg Beirne try and a penalty from JJ Hanrahan, but Leinster struck with two three-pointers off the kicking tee from Jonny Sexton – which meant the home side held a narrow 10-6 lead at the interval – while Ross Byrne converted Larmour’s try to seal Leinster’s triumph.
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen admitted his side battled to hit their straps and said the freezing weather did not help their cause.
“We did [make hard work of it],” he said.
“It took us a while to settle into the game. We had a slow start. We didn’t deal well with some of the aerial challenges and gave Munster a lot of access and territory.
“We only kicked into gear when we were 10 points down. I thought the players held their nerve well and the bench came on and added some good energy as well.
“We are pleased to get the win but it was far from a perfect performance.”