Eras­mus hails the su­pe­rior dis­ci­pline of Le­in­ster he­roes

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - THE TITLE - By Liam Heag­ney

WE’RE be­com­ing used to en­coun­ter­ing Rassie Eras­mus on the wrong side of the re­sult at the na­tional home of Ir­ish rugby.

Four trips, four de­feats in the space of 12 months, yes­ter­day’s re­verse to Le­in­ster was his sec­ond derby set­back in a run that also fea­tures losses to Sara­cens and Scar­lets at the ground.

He wasn’t leav­ing on this oc­ca­sion en­tirely chas­tened by the out­come, though.

A six-point loss was an im­prove­ment on the 12-point mar­gin of de­feat that ob­tained a year ago, enough of a straw for him to clutch and not fret about the twists and turns Europe will now hold for his team.

‘It’s not nice to come here and lose,’ he ad­mit­ted. ‘We came here to win and it’s dis­ap­point­ing. You get one bonus point and it’s a lit­tle con­so­la­tion, but we have only our­selves to blame.

‘The penalty count was crazy and it was only late when a few penal­ties went against them we got into the game. It was re­mark­able dis­ci­pline by Le­in­ster to go 60 min­utes and only con­cede one penalty. It was re­ally well done by them.

‘We lost by six points and scored three tries and they scored two, but we gave penal­ties away and that is why they beat us.

‘We re­duced the mar­gin to six points (from last year’s 12), which is a lit­tle bit of a pos­i­tive, and the way we found ways to score tries was pos­i­tive and at least we didn’t get a lot of in­juries.

‘We tried a few com­bi­na­tions and wanted to see if the need is there to use Tyler (Bleyen­daal) at cen­tre we can cope.

‘We now know against a qual­ity world-class back line like Le­in­ster you were in the game for most of it apart from the penal­ties. We have learned a few lessons and like last year we went into Europe and did pretty okay, so I think we are okay (for the weeks ahead).’

Le­in­ster boss Leo Cullen was nat­u­rally far more sat­is­fied, his team’s derby win co­in­cid­ing with Mont­pel­lier, next Satur­day’s Cham­pi­ons Cup vis­i­tors to Dublin, slip­ping up on the road at Stade Fran­cais. The Top 14 lead­ers yes­ter­day morn­ing, they went down 31-20 in Paris.

‘We’re rea­son­ably pleased,’ he said at the end of an af­ter­noon where Johnny Sex­ton’s boot took him to 1,234 points for the prov­ince, over­tak­ing the record of the pre­vi­ous leader, Felipe Con­tepomi.

‘We con­trolled the game pretty well in the first 25 min­utes. With (Niall) Scan­nell in the bin we fell into the trap of play­ing a bit too much and coughed up that in­ter­cept be­cause we had looked quite strong and dom­i­nant.

‘We got back on track, Rory (O’Lough­lin) gets a sec­ond try and at the start of the sec­ond half were quite good again. Then there was this small pe­riod half­way through where we played off a quick tap, the pass doesn’t go to hand and a minute later Mun­ster score again. They were two dis­ap­point­ing tries to give away.

‘Parts of our game can def­i­nitely be bet­ter. We prob­a­bly need to be a bit more ruth­less and fin­ish off chances, but we would have taken this re­sult go­ing in.

‘From a de­fen­sive view, giv­ing away three tries wasn’t like us.

‘It’s go­ing to be a huge step up again next week into Europe, but it was a fan­tas­tic oc­ca­sion here to­day, an amaz­ing crowd.’

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