O’Mahony: ‘We had an opportunity to really get a hold of it and grab it by the neck’
Munster captain knows final two group games will be tough after failure to win in France
Munster players look on before Andrew Conway’s try was disallowed during the Heineken Champions Cup match against Castres at Stade Pierre Fabre. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Munster captain Peter O’Mahony was still livid about his side’s performance when he came to do the last of the interviews nearly an hour after the game finished in Castres on Saturday night.
He knows this was a chance to bank points and make life a bit easier for themselves next month.
But he has negotiated enough pool escapes to know that the bonus point on Saturday night could yet be decisive as they prepare for their trip to Gloucester and then the home tie against an Exeter Chiefs side who are now back in contention.
O’Mahony acknowledged there were too many fault lines for them to get the win against the French champions.
“I don’t think we played well enough. Again, our breakdown was very poor. That’s really the heart of the game. We were beaten there across the board. I don’t think we can have any argument with regards to the result.
“I don’t think we deserved to win. There is plenty of inaccuracies that we need to have a good look at.
“We are still top of the pool and that’s where you want to be. It’s an incredibly competitive and difficult group and the last two days have blown it open again. We had an opportunity to really get a hold of it and grab it by the neck.
“We weren’t good enough to do it. It’s going to be two huge games coming up after the Christmas interpros,” said O’Mahony.
Munster’s loss means that all four teams in the pool are still alive going into the final two rounds and O’Mahony knows there will be a few other dogfights before this group is sorted.
“It’s unbelievably tight and you look at the two teams that we have left, two incredibly competitive teams. Having to go away to Kingsholm is always an incredibly difficult place to have to get a win.
“Then having one of the best teams in Europe, Exeter, on their day they can beat anyone, so we know we will have our work cut out,” he added.
Munster coach Johann van Graan said that the failure to take opportunities hurt but that there were always going to be twists and turns in this pool, with maybe a few more to come.
“Look, big lesson learned last year in the Racing game, that one bonus point made a big difference at the end.
“Very disappointed that we lost this game. We knew it was going to be a battle and a battle it was, I think two teams that really wanted to win.
“I guess the frustrating thing is we created enough opportunities. Small margins in sport, you score that try, you win and it’s a different ball game but, you know, we didn’t win the game so that’s not good enough.
“Going back to the bonus point, we’ll take it. We’re still three points ahead of Castres and four against the two opponents that we play. So, the Gloucester and Exeter games will be massive and so will the Gloucester-Castres and Exeter-Castres games. I think that’s the beauty of Europe and pools. It’s a pretty tight pool and four teams are still in it with two rounds to go.”
With regard to the disciplinary issues, Van Graan said he hopes that due process is followed.
“All I can say is the values of rugby are pretty important and we got spoken to during the week about the values of rugby and I thought we stayed within the values of the rugby I just hope that due processes will be followed.”