Tadhg Furlong a lucky man as Munster coach speaks about head shot on Chris Cloete 10 months ago

Tadhg Furlong a lucky man as Munster coach speaks about head shot on Chris Cloete

Chris Cloete had to be stretchered off the Thomond Park pitch on Saturday night.

Ireland's greatest rivalry was simmering from the word go in Limerick, and on the half hour mark, it all boiled over with Leinster players Tadhg Furlong and James Lowe receiving yellow and red cards respectively in the space of just two first half minutes.

And neither of them can have too many complaints about it.

Leinster travelled down to the Lion's den and they were hit hard by a fired up Munster outfit on a cold December Saturday night but where Munster's hits were borderline, like Jean Kleyn's and Wycherley's on Sexton, Leinster's were a bit more clear cut.

Cian Healy's early yellow was well reasoned for his high tackle while many felt that Frank Murphy was being lenient when he doled out the same punishment to Tadhg Furlong a couple of minutes later after he caught Cloete with a shoulder to the head.

You can judge that for yourself here via eir Sport's footage.

After the game, Munster coach Johann van Grann discussed his thoughts on the game and its hits and it's fairly clear that he thought the Wexford man should have been on the line for the remainder of the game.

"I think we stuck to our principles and I think we really stayed disciplined. I thought the referee was in a very difficult position. A sell-out Thomond Park and you want 15 versus 15. I thought one or two of the earlier decisions could have gone maybe higher but all credit to the referee, I thought he kept his cool and I think it was four massive incidents in the first half and I thought eventually something had to give.

"I think it's important, it doesn't matter which colour is the jersey, I think player safety and player welfare is very important. You know, we lost a player tonight out of a game and our opponents lost it for only 10 minutes. All we can ask for is consistency like I've been asking for the last few weeks. Really pleased about our discipline.

If the powers that be feel that Furlong was lucky to get away with yellow on review, there is a chance he could be cited.

Leo Cullen, meanwhile, wasn't drawn when asked for his opinion on the merits of the cards issued to his players during the game.

"We had some moments when we were down to 14 men and looked like we were getting back in the game. Forwards got in for a good try from the drive and we were starting to build a bit of pressure. We are pleased with the way the guys stuck at it. It's very difficult to win rugby matches when you concede a red card and two yellows inside the first 32 minutes.

"It doesn't really matter what I think, it's about what the referee thinks as he makes the decision on the field. We just have to go what the referee says, whether he's right or wrong, it doesn't really matter. He's the one who has the cards in the pocket, not me.

He did note, however, regarding James Lowe's dismissal for not competing in the air, that his players should be more aware of their surroundings.

"It's a really difficult area, and difficult for the referees to referee it as well. The crowd are almost getting it into it as well and almost encouraging officials to card guys and then players, how do they behave etc. It's definitely a consideration for us but we have to be more aware of our surroundings.

"Today, we probably lose our head in the first 35 minutes of the game. It's the atmosphere, it's fiery and Munster are a very passionate team when they're playing here at home. From our point of view, we just have to get better at dealing with it," said Cullen.