Rassie Erasmus Remains Proud Of His Munster Team Despite PRO12 Final Defeat

Munster may have got a hiding on Saturday, but they should still hold their heads high after an incredible season.

After finishing sixth last season and failing to get out of their Champions Cup group, expectations were very low ahead of this campaign. Rassie Erasmus was brought in to assist Anthony Foley, a pairing many people thought wouldn’t work.

In fact many questions were asked about the entire coaching set-up. Why was Jerry Flannery being kept on? What can a recently retired 29 year-old Felix Jones add to the set-up? Then the heartbreak of Anthony Foley’s death occurred in October.

Despite all of this Munster finished top of their Champions Cup pool, losing at the semi-final stages to eventual winners Saracens and finished top of the PRO12, falling only at the final hurdle against Scarlets. While Munster may have finished the season with nothing more than a runners-up medal, they should be damn proud at how far they’ve come in 12 months.

Speaking after the loss to Scarlets, Erasmus spoke proudly of Munster’s season.

“We were a write-off when we started here. Everyone said it wouldn’t work – myself and Axel will never be able to work together, how can they get a South African guy in and how are they going to believe in one another?” Erasmus said.
“How can you get Felix Jones in at 29? Jerry Flannery is only 38, where has he coached before? You bring another South African in and people said it would never work.
“Apart from that, people saying it would never work, Anthony passed away… so for me the proudest thing out of this is that people stuck together, back to back, backing one another. That’s something to build on, even if you don’t have any skill, because you’re really tight. That was more on the mental side of things.”

Erasmus says his side are far from bulletproof, but should be damn proud of their incredible record this season.

“On the field, to only lose three games out of 22 in the Pro12; that’s belief. To get to a [Champions Cup] semi-final when you were the ‘easy team’ in your pool, we’re not all of a sudden bulletproof.
“I’m trying to look at those things and think it wasn’t that bad. That’s a stepping stone and hopefully next season we can move forward.”

The Munster boss also thanked the fans for their incredible support this season.

“We can’t say we’re sorry because I know the guys tried,” said Erasmus.
“We are trying to put ourselves into their shoes. Hopefully, they understand that the guys really tried. We are disappointed that we couldn’t give more back to them today. That’s the sad thing. We want to say thank you.”

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