"We win together and we lose together" - Johann van Graan gives backing to JJ Hanrahan
The Munster outhalf was confirmed as the 'Golden Boot' winner on Wednesday.
Two days after picking up the Guinness PRO14 award for his kicking accuracy, JJ Hanrahan returned one from three off the kicking tee as Munster's season ended in semi-final heart-ache again.
The Currow native put Munster into a 3-0 lead, against Leinster, but missed the next two opportunities he got. When they came, his side were 10-3 down. He could have made it a one-point game but missed both efforts to the right and wide.
As if to rub in the costliness of those misses, Johnny Sexton stepped up and larruped over the penalty awarded to his side with 15 minutes to go. Following the game, which Leinster won 13-3, Munster head coach Johann van Graan acknowledged how the misses were big blows, but said the entire team would own them, and the loss.
"Yeah, look, [the two misses] were crucial. We had limited opportunities in a semi-final and we didn't convert our opportunities.
"But, you know, we as a group, we win together and we lose together. We'll take those penalties as a group. I thought we built a lot of pressure between the 50th and 65th minute, and then we didn't convert those chances. Leinster went down the other side of the pitch and went up 13-3.
"We had an opportunity on the 77th minute to get that maul try and they stopped it."
Munster supporters had legitimate claims for a penalty, or even a penalty try, when Michael Bent and Caelan Doris both pushed the legality envelope to bring down a rolling maul just metres from his line.
Here's that Munster maul late on. Doris got away with some daylight robbery.... pic.twitter.com/irSbbJLos6
— Neil Treacy (@neil_treacy) September 4, 2020
Asked if Munster were hard done by, van Graan commented:
"Look, there were big calls in the game. The referee made his decision and we'll stick with his decision. We'll go and have a look at it and follow the normal channels if we've got a problem with it."
CJ Stander was trying his best to stay positive, after the game, despite his side falling short of another final. "I think that we had time enough off, at six months," he said.
"We're excited for the next season. That's something we need to look forward to now and it's the only thing we have. We've performed well these last three weeks; a few opportunities let us down. But e're looking forward to next season and pushing on. We, as a group, are in a good spot and we are gelling unbelievably as a group. This group can push really hard next season."