If you are a Munster supporter, last night’s 24-17 loss to Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium will leave a very sour taste in the mouth.
The men in red arguably put in their best 40-minute performance of the season when they cruised to a 17-0 lead at halftime thanks to a dominant pack performance which yielded two tries from a lineout maul and a penalty try courtesy of a powerful scrum.
However, Munster’s indiscipline cost them in the second half as a yellow card to Fineen Wycherley and a red card to Sam Arnold for a high tackle on Christian Lealiifano allowed Ulster a route back into the game, one which they took with open arms as they emerged 24-17 winners.
One would expect the loss of leaders within Munster’s team led to their poor discipline in the second half. Billy Holland, who had played in every Munster game this season, was removed in the first half of the game to be replaced by Wycherley. Niall Scannell who took on the captain duties in his absence went off injured himself to be replaced by Kevin O’Byrne. Also, Munster were without their experienced leaders for this fixture, such as Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander.
You would imagine if these players were on the field, Munster would have been able to keep their discipline in check and hold off the inevitable Ulster comeback in the second period. However, those aforementioned players had to watch from home and Instagram footage from Stander’s wife just show how frustrating it must have been for the 27-year-old to watch on from home.