hances are when Ben Healy obtained again to his gaff after the extraordinary drama in Lansdowne Street there was a present ready for him on the doorstep. A kicking tee. Adorned with black and pink ribbons? Gallows humour is a nicely practised artwork kind in Munster, and the occasions of this quarter-final current themselves as prime materials.
Martyn Williams, one of many nice back-row campaigners, described as “horrible” the expertise he endured in 2009 when Cardiff misplaced a goal-kicking contest with Leicester to see who would play Leinster in that season’s Heineken Cup last. That one was actually weird, with the duty being drilled down into the ahead pack to separate the groups. Williams, the flanker, missed; Jordan Crane, the Tigers quantity eight, didn’t.
At the least tee-time was not a clause in Williams’s contract. For Healy, however, it’s his inventory in commerce. Furthermore he’s superb at it. You’d guess that “horrible” doesn’t even start to explain his failure within the shoot-out, on high of the possibilities he had in each regular and extra-time. Every thing about Healy suggests he’ll recover from it, and scars like this are half and parcel of the goal-kicker’s journey.
For Munster their journey appeared safe – if that’s not a loopy mind-set in opposition to a membership like Toulouse who, like Munster, contemplate themselves an integral a part of Heineken Cup historical past. However a 10-point end from the French in regular time introduced us to degree pegging and an additional 20 minutes. When that didn’t work the following criterion was the attempt depend – three apiece – after which they have been calling for kicking tees for under the second time in European historical past.
“I mentioned to my spouse there this was just like the World Cup semi-final in 2015 that I used to be concerned with that we (South Africa) misplaced 20-18 in opposition to the All Blacks,” Johann van Graan mentioned afterwards. “That feeling that we gave all of it we obtained, the gamers gave all of it they’ve obtained. Administration, employees, the individuals of Munster gave all of it they’ve obtained.
“We’ve obtained to know that this can be a recreation. All people related to Munster rugby might be extremely pleased with the 23 guys that stood up and fought as we speak.”
They can even be extremely disillusioned than having dragged themselves again into the sport when trailing within the first half they couldn’t get it over the road. A lot of the trouble centered on the management of their high males. Peter O’Mahony, a shoo-in for man of the match – fairly an achievement in a recreation of such high quality – and Conor Murray have been on the high of their recreation. Damian de Allende was their assured gain-line operator and performed like a person determined to nail down some silverware earlier than his time in Munster is up.
“We left the lodge saying ‘to the courageous and trustworthy, nothing is inconceivable’ and I feel the best way that our captain Peter O’Mahony performed, actually when his physique couldn’t (do) anymore, then Jack Daly approaching to make his European debut in that cauldron – the unimaginable factor about rugby is it provides you alternative to expertise issues like what occurred as we speak,” Van Graan added. “The robust factor is we may have received it within the last play of the sport – we had one or two alternatives, nevertheless it’s gone now. The solar will come up tomorrow morning.”
He’s proper about that. And if he can handle the following two weeks nicely sufficient, then Munster can choose up once more on their superb kind. Actually Niall Scannell is evident about it.
“I feel now we have improved massively the previous few weeks and it’s beginning to click on and there’s much more confidence and buzz about it and you’ll see it, notably within the forwards,” the hooker mentioned.
“There’s plenty of lads working nice strains, there’s lads that perhaps a season or two in the past weren’t prepared to present that cross, that tip-on that are actually.
“We’re trusting the communication we’re getting from the backs and I feel our recreation’s rising however I feel we had trusted that may occur all 12 months and we needed to consider that it might come good on the massive days.
“It clearly wasn’t sufficient as we speak however I nonetheless assume we put collectively some unbelievable assault and I’d hope that we may continue to grow that. If we will belief, will probably be there as a result of I feel in different years perhaps we didn’t stretch ourselves sufficient within the winter months after which on the laborious tracks in opposition to the massive boys we didn’t have that within the locker.
“In order that’s the place we’ve been making an attempt to broaden our assault and hopefully we’ll now begin to see it pay dividends within the URC.”
Don’t be stunned if Ben Healy delivers one thing particular in that competitors to get his crew the place they should go. Expertise like that doesn’t disappear on the again of 1 dangerous day trip.
Munster: M Haley (B Healy 72); Ok Earls, C Farrell, D de Allende, S Zebo (C Murray 97); J Carbery, C Murray (C Casey 60); J Wycherley (J Loughman 55), N Scannell (D Barron 55), S Archer (J Ryan 51), J Kleyn (J Jenkins 60), F Wycherley (T Ahern 72), P O’Mahony (capt)(J Daly 65), J O’Donoghue, A Kendellen.
Toulouse: T Ramos; D Delibes (M Medard 44; P Fouyssac 72), P Fouyssac (B Germain 64), P Ahki, M Lebel; R Ntamack, A Dupont; R Neti (C Baille 47), J Marchand (capt) (P Mauvaka 47), D Aldegheri (D Ainu’u 51), R Arnold (yc 51-61), E Meafou, R Elstadt (A Jelonch 47), F Cros, T Flament.
Ref: L Pearce (England).