Erasmus grateful as Munster deliver in front of record Thomond crowd

Murray Kinsella reports from Thomond Park

MUNSTER DELIVERED IN front of a record crowd of 26,200 at Thomond Park this evening, although Leinster’s challenge proved to be a little disappointing in this inter-provincial fixture.

Rassie Erasmus, Munster’s director of rugby, was far from getting carried away by his team’s 29-17 win, but he took satisfaction from watching his players provide their supporters with plenty to be cheerful about.

“Grateful is the first word that comes to mind, and then honour,” said Erasmus when asked about playing in front of a new record crowd.

Erasmus was pleased with another home win for Munster. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Click Here: cheap wests tigers jersey

“We wouldn’t like to say it’s expectations on our shoulders but I think it’s about pride and opportunity when you get a crowd like that.

“There was even a lot of Leinster supporters you could hear today, so credit to Irish rugby, the whole build-up. Matches like this make it special and then when you get two teams with 30 players going out there and putting it up to one another physically and tactically, it makes for a great match.

“It was not perfect, but it was a good spectacle.”

Tries from Simon Zebo, Ronan O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander ensured a bonus point for Munster, lifting them five points clear at the top of the Guinness Pro12 table.

Erasmus is aware of the challenge of backing this performance up in five days’ time away to Connacht in Galway – when he will be missing the likes of Conor Murray, Zebo and Stander due to the IRFU’s player management programme – but he is enthusiastic about where this squad is moving collectively.

Last season saw Munster suffering when big moments in games went against them, but the South African boss saw his side’s reaction to going 7-0 behind to a Zane Kirchner try in the first half as the latest example of a shift in mindset.

On a night when Leinster paid tribute to Anthony Foley, Erasmus pinpointed Munster’s growing resilience as a source of pride.

Donnacha Ryan shows his pleasure at Munster’s victory. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“There were so many ups and downs that the guys told me about from last year, and obviously Axel had told me so much about bad calls going against us and we didn’t handle it well,” said Erasmus.

“Me and Axel were always chatting about how we could handle those moments, put them behind us and move on, and go into the next battle. We always talked about Axel’s legend and the things he would leave behind here and those were the things we kept on talking about.

“If something bad happens, move on, get into the next battle. Those are the small things that make us proud.