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Mulvihill frustrated by lacklustre performance against Munster

Blues News | 3rd November 2019


John Mulvihill was left frustrated with his side’s lacklustre performance in the 33-23 defeat to Munster at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.

The sides were level at the interval, but Munster showed their ruthless attack in the second half to cross for three tries and secure the bonus point in atrocious conditions at the Welsh capital.

Mulvihill pinpointed individual errors in defence but insists he saw positives in his side’s performance.

The head coach said: “We were good enough for the first 60 minutes, and at 16-13 we probably should’ve scored a try in that passage of play, but we weren’t clinical enough to finish them off.

“We hadn’t given a penalty away in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but then we went five consecutive penalties and missed three one-on-one tackles which led to three tries.

“That part is not good enough, and that’s what the player got in the changing room after the game.

“I’ll be positive on Monday, but I’ve been positive after every game this year so far and at some stage they need to hear how I feel about our performance.

“They heard that, and I think they’ll take it on board and we’ll be better for it on Monday.

“There were glimpses that were really good. I think our scrum has improved massively and the line-out was quite good.

“When we use the ball in the areas that we want to, we look really good.

“But if you give teams easy scores against you, it’s hard to keep pegging back.

“It was one-on-one tackles, and when teams get to the backfield with good supporters, then they become hard to stop.

“If you go back to where it came from, it would be an individual error in missing a tackle, and it’s very tough then to get behind the ball.

“Munster were very clinical in the way they finished, but they made line-breaks and finished them off.”

Saturday’s encounter was Cardiff Blues’ fourth consecutive Guinness PRO14 defeat, and have one more round of Championship action before focus turns to a Challenge Cup double header against Calvisano and Leicester Tigers.

The Blues host Toyota Cheetahs at the Arms Park on Saturday and Mulvihill warns his side cannot afford a repeat performance when the free-flowing South African outfit visit the Welsh capital.

“We need to stick to our game plan and play for the whole 80 minutes,” added Mulvihill.

“Out in Ulster last week it was disappointing in the first 20 but we were good after that. Our first half this week wasn’t too bad but we fell away in the second half and didn’t mount any pressure on the defence to make errors or the referee to make decisions.

“That’s a big thing in this game, and if we don’t use the ball well against Cheetahs and spend a lot of time defending, then we’ll be in trouble.

“They scored 25 tries in their first four games, and had 10 tries more than any other teams in the competition, so our defence, individually, will have to step up.”