Finn Russell Row a mere sideshow as Munster stare down the barrel

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Finn Russell Saracens 15 Munster 6


Finn Russell Andrew Conway attempts to brush off Saracens’ Max Malins during their Heineken Champions Cup clash. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Andrew Conway attempts to brush off Saracens’ Max Malins during their Heineken Champions Cup clash. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

When the red mist fades and the red faces recede, Munster will look back on Saturday evening’s events in Barnet with a lot of regret.

In the immediate aftermath, the row between their doctor and Jamie George dominated the agenda; as did CJ Stander’s decision to go for the corner when a kick at goal might have earned them a key bonus point.

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EPCR will investigate an incident that saw Munster’s head of medical Dr Jamie Kearns kick off a 30-man scuffle on the Allianz Park sidelines.

It is understood he responded to George kicking a ball at Niall Scannell by calling him “a fat p****”, sparking the row.

Dr Kearns apologised to both George and Saracens’ director of rugby, Mark McCall, after the game.

That process will take its course, but Munster’s review will centre on how they went toe to toe with the European champions on their own patch – and did so much right despite losing four key players to injury – but let the game slip from their grasp.



Finn Russell Red mist: Nick Isiekwe of Saracens and Jack O’Donoghue of Munster find themselves at the centre of Saturday’s melee at Allianz Park. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile


Red mist: Nick Isiekwe of Saracens and Jack O’Donoghue of Munster find themselves at the centre of Saturday’s melee at Allianz Park. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Predictable

Already without Joey Carbery and Dave Kilcoyne, Munster suffered a series of blows as Peter O’Mahony hurt his groin in the warm-up, Tadhg Beirne suffered a serious ankle injury early on, John Ryan damaged his calf before half-time and Andrew Conway went off with a head injury early in the second.

And yet, when the row calmed and referee Pascal Gauzere penalised Owen Farrell for racing in from more than 10 metres away, JJ Hanrahan stood over a kick to make it 9-3.

He missed. Off the hook and enlivened by the festivities, Saracens moved up through the gears and crushed the resistance in impressive fashion.



Finn Russell A mass brawl breaks out between the teams. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images


A mass brawl breaks out between the teams. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Munster’s red wall couldn’t hold, but it had been impressive for so long with Jean Kleyn and Chris Farrell superb and they kept the home side to a modest 15 points.

The problem came at the other end where Munster couldn’t take their chances.

In the build-up, Munster head coach Johann van Graan said they’d need to be close to perfect and, while they were very good, they could have been even better.

Saracens rarely have to chase games, but having survived an early onslaught the visitors managed their way into the opposition ’22 and had a lineout and two scrums midway through the first half.

They only came away with three points through Hanrahan, when

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