Toulon rue failure to turn Thomond dominance into points
Bastareaud : ‘We had a lot of opportunities and errors with the ball’
A dejected Toulon captain Mathieu Bastareaud at the post-match press conference at Thomond Park following the Champions Cup defeat to Munster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Toulon coach Fabien Galthie bemoaned that France do not have the provincial structures of Ireland after Munster’s gutsy team display outshone his squad of rugby stars.
Galthie said Toulon did not underestimate the spirit of Munster, adding that they play in Europe like a national team.
“They are at home. They are like a national team,” he said. “They are not like us. It is harder for us to build a team. They have the model, the provincial teams like Leinster and Munster.
“Munster on the first occasion scored a try and took the momentum. They took the moment. Ten points in two minutes. But we thought we did what we needed to do to win this match.
“The last clearance we kicked too early [to Andrew Conway]. We had time to reload and control the momentum but . . . it’s a game,” he added.
Mathieu Bastareaud, the Toulon captain, was disconsolate knowing that they had enough territory and ball to win the match.
“We had territory and possession but we didn’t score points,” said the behemoth French centre. “If you don’t score tries you cannot win. It’s very frustrating. We had a lot of opportunities and errors with the ball.”
He was not about to be drawn into a conversation about referee Nigel Owen, who perplexed both sides with some of his decisions.
“The referee tries to do his best. I’m not happy with some of his decisions. We know this team had special spirit and today I think we saw that.”
Toulon lock David Attwood echoed many of the thoughts of his captain, which was that Toulon did not execute, did not push home any of the advantages they had and made errors, especially in try-scoring positions or failing to find touch.
“They got more points than us,” said Attwood flatly. “We had a number of opportunities and didn’t finish them off and made some defensive mistakes that cost us dearly The spirit here is very strong. It doesn’t take many mistakes against one of the top teams in Europe.
“There is a great atmosphere because there is a great team there. We certainly thought we had the firepower to beat them.”
The secondrow was more reticent about whether Munster could win the competition outright.
“They’ve got some injuries,” he said referring to Zebo and perhaps Conor Murray. “They need to arrive back fit. The spirit of this team and the stadium was a big factor today. If they go onto win after beating us and I wish them the best of luck.
Conway’s wonder try was typical of the way Munster squeezed everything they could from their own opportunities and also highlighted how Toulon invited too many errors into their game.
“It doesn’t take much to lose,” said Attwood. “I’m not entirely sure what happened [for Conway’s try]. My head was buried somewhere else. As I said it just takes one mistake.
“We have a very disappointed changing room. We had the opportunity and had a swing in momentum seven minutes from end but couldn’t take it.”