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The two areas that 'pleased' Graham Rowntree despite Munster exit

(Photo by Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree admitted he was hugely disappointed after seeing his side crash out of the Heineken Champions Cup with a 50-35 defeat to the Sharks in Durban. The visitors had no answer to their opponents’ forward power as the South Africans ran in four tries in the first 18 minutes of the second half, turning their 17-14 interval lead into a 43-14 advantage.


Munster did score five tries, but two came late on when the game was already beyond them, while the Sharks ran in seven of their own. “I am hugely disappointed, as you can imagine,” said Rowntree.

“It was a three-point game at half-time but quickly got away from us with two more tries and then the game got even looser and we were chasing the game. We can score tries as a team, we have proven that, but we have had a taste of what it is coming to this club and this town and we are back out here in three weeks (in the league).

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“We will go back and analyse the game to see where we have got to be better. The conditions were challenging, we are not used to this weather, but towards the end of the game we were chasing the game, scoring tries and I was pleased with our energy.

“I was pleased with our effort, but technically, tactically we have got to be better. We will look at that third quarter when things got away from us. We will look at penalties we conceded or turnovers we conceded at the breakdown, those are the elements we will have a look at.”

Sharks became the first South African team to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup and their reward is a trip to Toulouse or a home game against more familiar opposition in the shape of the Bulls. Director of rugby Neil Powell said: “Whichever team we are going to play it will obviously not be easy.

“We all know that when you get into the knockout stages you have got to be more accurate. This is the first year we have been part of it, so we are trying to create a bit of hype and a bit of culture around being part of the European championship.


“Luckily we have experience in our coaching staff. Yannick Bru was involved with Toulouse when they won the European Cup and also Noel McNamara was part of the academy at Leinster and understands how much emphasis those teams put on the Champions Cup.

“We have really tried to create a vibe and energy and a bit of a culture around this, but we know the closer you get to the final the more difficult it is going to be.”


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