Preventing Northampton Saints from scoring a try was the most pleasing aspect for Munster Rugby in their Heineken Champions Cup Round 2 victory, according to lock Tadhg Beirne.
The Irish province bounced back from their opening-round defeat at home to Stade Toulousain by battling to a 17-6 win in a fiery contest at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday.
“I think the second half particularly [was a classic Munster performance],” he said after the game. “We got ahead in the first half, we said we wanted a fast start and we managed to do that.
“They were chasing in the second half, but the backbone we showed, that’s what it’s all about, holding tough, down to 13 men at some stages.
“It was 14 [men] for the majority of that half and we stuck with it, we stuck to our system and to keep a team like Northampton out, that’s probably what we were happiest with.”
Munster disrupted Northampton ball by competing fiercely at the breakdown and Beirne was at the forefront of those efforts.
STATS TEAM OF THE WEEK 📊
Oval have crunched the numbers, here are the #HeinekenChampionsCup R2 top performers…
Can you guess the remaining players? 👀 pic.twitter.com/XvoIBb8BgA
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 19, 2022
“You’ve got to pick your opportunities,” he noted. “I probably chase a bit too many sometimes. But overall, I think Gavin Coombes was outstanding and the whole pack got some serious turnovers.
“John Hodnett and Alex Kendellen, when they came on, they went after the breakdown as well and managed to slow it down for us, which all helps the backs and the rest of us to get a line set to keep them out at the end.
“We’re absolutely delighted with that. We said at half-time we wanted to keep them try-less and we came out in the second half and did that.”
Beirne was named Heineken Star of the Match for his huge contribution to the victory, but he admitted that he was expecting No.8 Coombes, who dotted down twice in the first half, to grab the accolade.
“I was sure he was going to get it,” he laughed. “He’ll probably say I robbed it off him and he’s probably not wrong. But it’s nice to get it.”