Munster have escaped France with two points in an error-strewn performance, ultimately breathing a sigh of relief after a 17-17 draw against Castres in the opening round of the Champions Cup.
Munster ceded control of the final quarter to Castres, and were reliant on try-saving tackles by Keith Earls and Darren Sweetnam within a couple of minutes of each other to remain level in the final stages. Once the clock was close to ticking out, Munster had another man to thank for their clinging onto a draw: the referee.
As the clock struck red, Robin Copeland inexplicably reached across a ruck to slap the ball out of the hands of the Castres scrum-half. With a kickable penalty and yellow card looking assured, the referee went upstairs to the TMO...and gave a scrum for a knock on, reasoning that the ball had left the ruck.
Even the most ardent of Munster fans, Alan Quinlan, was adamant that it should have been a penalty and red card.
The incident is below:
Safe to say that most agreed that Castres had been horsed by the ref...
Ball is out, says the ref. I don't know about that.
Take the draw and get home before Ophelia #COvMUN
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) October 15, 2017
Munster very very lucky. Clear penalty try and 2nd YC v @CastresRugby. Referee bottled it.
— Chris 🏴 (@c_mjm_) October 15, 2017