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'I Just Saw Red For A Little Second And I Actually Hurt Myself More Than I Hurt Him'

'I Just Saw Red For A Little Second And I Actually Hurt Myself More Than I Hurt Him'
By PJ Browne Updated

Watching on as Keith Earls scurried over for Munster's opening try against Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon, Conor Murray had a brief flicker of worry.

Referee Pascal Gauzere had just awarded Munster a penalty after Henry Pyrgos had slapped the ball out of Murray's hand. The scrum-half's immediate reaction was to suplex his opposite number onto his back.

"I think it was just a little bit of frustration on my part," said Murray at a PINERGY event on Wednesday.

"I was trying to play the ball off the scrum and he just slapped it down cynically [with] no other intention really than to infringe. I just saw red for a little second and I actually hurt myself more than I hurt him. I hit my head off the ground a little bit. Maybe got a little bit lucky there."

Gauzere appeared not to see the incident - being too busy watching Earls take a quick tap before crashing over the line - and took no action against Murray.

The score was an opportunistic moment in a victory built on strong defence.

"We didn't attack that much," said Murray, "didn't have that much ball to attack with but defensively, it was really pleasing for us; especially the last five minutes, that will be a standout moment for most people, to hold them out and not give an inch. It was enjoyable to be in that group, sending them backwards.

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"We knew that there wasn't going to be that many opportunities - they starve you of possession, they kick an awful lot, they don't play rugby in their half, really. It was always going to be a tight game. "

Munster found themselves in that position to hold out thanks to another fortunate moment. With just over ten minutes to play and Edinburgh ahead 13-10, the Scottish side were awarded a penalty for a late tackle by Rhys Marshall. It's was subsequently reversed after prop Pierre Schoeman hit Tadhg Beirne with a shoulder. Tyler Bleyendall kicked down the line and Keith Earls scored his second try shortly after.

There has since been much debate about how easily Beirne hit the ground. Brian O'Driscoll said during the week that Beirne's reaction was 'not a good look' for the game.

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Murray stands firmly on the side of it being a penalty to Munster. Exactly how injured Beirne was by the incident is not for him to say.

The first time I saw it was a replay, in slow motion, and it didn't look like it was too bad. It wasn't a horrendous challenge by any stretch of the imagination. I watched it in real time and watched it fully, and it was a penalty. It was black and white. Schoeman eyes him up and someone told me it was an elbow flick a while ago, but it wasn't, it was a full arm or shoulder and Schoeman is a big loosehead prop.

My answer is you'd have to ask Tadhg how badly he was hurt, I didn't really care, because we got the penalty reversed and we went down and eventually scored a try.

There's a lot being made about how big a deal Tadhg made about it, but it was a penalty. By the letter of the law, it was a penalty. Maybe you could say the ref wouldn't have gone back if Tadhg hadn't stayed down and drew attention to it. Thankfully he did see it and he did reverse it.

I'd stand strongly by it, it is a penalty. He eyes him up and checks his run on purpose. Lucky for us as Van der Walt would have slotted that from 40 metres, he doesn't miss too many kicks. Six points down, we would have stayed on task and try to win the game, but it would have made it that bit harder. We got a little bit of a break there.

Murray says that Beirne has not been affected by the reaction to the incident.

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"Tadhg seems the same happy, laid back guy that I know. I’m sure he doesn’t give too much time to what people say outside the group.

"Like Drico when he was playing, you don’t pay too much attention to media and you can’t. If you do and you take everything to heart, you’re going to be pretty bogged down by things and pretty distracted."

The win sets up a semi-final date with Saracens at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on April 20th. It will be Munster's third consecutive year reaching that stage of the tournament and a rerun of their last-four game against the English side two years ago.

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"We feel we're better," said Murray.

"Saracens are better. We fully believe in it, I fully believe we are but I'm kind of sick of saying 'yeah we feel we can do it this year' but we're in a good place."

Today, PINERGY, the official energy partner to Munster Rugby, teamed up with its brand ambassador Conor Murray to announce that PINERGY will now be supplying all of its customers with electricity from 100 percent renewable energy sources. Munster Rugby’s home stadiums, Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park, will now be powered with electricity from fully renewable sources, reducing their annual carbon footprint to zero. PINERGY’s move to renewable energy enables Munster’s Red Army to go green in the second season of the innovative #WeAre16 campaign. The development positions PINERGY as Ireland’s first and only specialist smart energy provider to now fully supply all of its electricity to its customers from renewable sources.

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See Also: Rory Best Had 'Doomsday Scenarios' In His Head As He Watched On Powerless Against Leinster

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