Belfast Telegraph

Munster 41 Toulouse 16: Munster chief hails mentality behind runaway win

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus hailed his side's Champions Cup quarter-final win as fantastic as the province roared into their 12th semi-final with a 41-16 win over Toulouse.

Munster scored 17 unanswered points, including tries from Darren Sweetnam and Andrew Conway in the final eight minutes at Thomond Park to book a last-four date with Saracens at the Aviva later this month.

Kiwi fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal finished with 21 points off the tee. They outscored their French opponents by four tries to one - man of the match John Ryan and CJ Stander also touched down - to claim an eighth home quarter-final victory. Trailing 13-9 at half-time, Toulouse were still very much in the contest when Paul Perez's 54th-minute try made it 24-16.

Erasmus said: "First of all, to get the win is fantastic. I think if you look tactically and technically there was a good 40 minutes and then a bad 15 to 20 minutes and finally a good four to five minutes. It wasn't perfect, but it is a win against a world class team, so we are fairly happy.

"Within 15 or 20 minutes the penalty count was 5-2 in our favour and then we managed to turn it around I think 5-6 for them. I wouldn't say a discipline problem on our behalf, I would say an over-eagerness problem, especially at the breakdown. If over-eagerness is a problem, then it is not a bad problem."

Munster's runaway triumph was achieved without Ireland star Conor Murray, who was unable to start due to a shoulder injury, while captain Peter O'Mahony, winger Keith Earls and try scorer Stander were all forced off with injuries during the game.

"I would be lying to you to say I'm not nervous when those guys are not on the field but in the same breath I must say we have played many games without them when they were on Six Nations duty," added Erasmus.

"The group that played the last 15 to 20 minutes have been grinding out away wins without those guys. I think the guys are growing into - I wouldn't say leaders - but growing into handling pressure situations which is great. I am not saying we are mentally where we should be, but we are definitely growing mentally as a team."

Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir was left to rue the poor start his side made to both halves, admitting: "We started in a pretty bad way in the first half and the second half too. We could have played a better game."

Belfast Telegraph


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