Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard felt indiscipline and a lack of execution led to his side’s downfall in a 21-7 Heineken Champions Cup Pool B defeat to Munster at Thomond Park. In addition to the sin-binnings of his entire back row – James Chisholm, Will Evans and Alex Dombrandt – and the concession of a second-half penalty try, Quins also had a try ruled out for a forward pass.
Cadan Murley did get over in the 55th minute but Gustard admitted afterwards: “We conspired to give Munster field position, they managed to control the field better than we did in the second half.
“Obviously some of those yellow cards and some of those penalties cost us heavily in terms of tries as well.
“We were in the fight for long periods of the game. When we reflect and look back on it, they were better than us tonight.
“But with all that said, we were in a game with them. What became 6-0 could have been 7-3, but for a forward pass it could have been a different game.
“We’re frustrated, but there’s a lot of positive signs in the direction this team is going. We’re looking forward to Racing next week.”
Meanwhile, Munster head coach Johann van Graan spoke of his frustration with a couple of late tackles on young fly-half Ben Healy. Dombrandt was yellow carded for a shoulder charge on Healy in the 62nd minute, and the 21-year-old is now an injury doubt for next Saturday’s trip to Clermont Auvergne.
“We’re very worried about Ben, he took two late hits there,” insisted van Graan. “We’re going to get him checked out now. It was quite clearly a tactic from the opposition to hit him late and certain things in the game are just unacceptable. He’s now got injured because of that.”
While Quins were tough opponents, the second round clash with Clermont will require Munster to be at their best. The Top 14 side defeated Bristol 51-38 in a sparkling start to the tournament – but van Graan very much welcomes the challenge ahead.
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“Clermont are one of the European powerhouses if you look historically. Some big tussles between Munster and Clermont. If you looked at them yesterday, they were excellent the way they started against Bristol.
“It’s a massive challenge ahead for us and that’s what this competition is about, to challenge yourself against the best teams.
“It’s great that Munster and Clermont will go out with their top teams because this is what the competition is about. You always want to play your top teams in this competition,” he added.
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