Conor Murray says there was no need for Peter O'Mahony to apologise to his teammates after being sent off just 13 minutes into Ireland's defeat to Wales on Sunday.
The backrow hit Wales prop Thomas Francis's head with his shoulder as he was clearing out a ruck. After a TMO review, referee Wayne Barnes showed O'Mahony a red card.
"He didn't need to [apologise]," Murray said during a press conference on Wednesday.
"It's not like he swung out at somebody or attacked someone.
"It was a genuine mistake. It was just unlucky. A lot of things came together for Thomas Francis's head to be in that position. It was really unlucky.
"Pete, you could see him going into the ruck - there was no malice in it. He was just trying to do his best for the team and keep the ruck ball really quick.
"It is a red card; it is contact with the head, which we all know [is not allowed]. Pete didn't mean that. He wasn't going out to hurt someone. He was just trying to do his job and it was really unlucky for something like that to happen. He's bitterly disappointed.
"There's no need to apologise. There's nothing he did wrong. It was just pure bad luck in my opinion. He's not that type of player. His influence off the pitch is going to be huge too. We'll always rely on Pete in a leadership role."
Despite being down to 14 players for the majority of the game, Ireland remained competitive. Had certain moments gone their way, they could have won.
"When you lose a game like that, there is a danger that lads are thinking ‘one that got away', now that things look really difficult for ourselves," said Murray.
"Maybe we’ve players who’ve had those type of experiences before. There's no sulking, feeling sorry for yourself, moping about the hotel isn’t going to fix things for France.
"I think lads have shook it off, remained positive, because there are positives to take from Cardiff.
"A lot of work-ons, too, but a lot of positives. You can see in lads’ body language the way we have trained that people are buzzing.
"This is a huge game for us, there is no hiding now after losing our first game. Lads know that and are hungry to face up to the challenge."
Picture credit: Sportsfile