‘Not good enough’ – Johann van Graan laments Munster’s poor showing as he signs off on Ulster defeat

Johann van Graan wasn’t about to give us an introspective look at his legacy as Munster coach as he conducted his final post-game press conference in the Kingspan Stadium media room.

ather, the South African honed in on the last three weeks of his tenure as one of incredible disappointment as a season that promised so much fizzled out with defeats to Leinster and Ulster.

The coach branded Friday night’s 36-17 defeat in the United Rugby Championship as “not good enough” and said the entire squad and management must take responsibility.

“Utterly disappointing. For us as a group, that wasn’t good enough,” he said.

“Two main things stood out, discipline-wise we just gave Ulster access. We had more than enough opportunities and just could’nt finish, even though we scored three tries.

“We’ve got to own that as a group, we came here to win and we were a long way short tonight.

“From a team perspective, the last two games wasn’t good enough. We’ll have to do our end of season review and own that as a group and then move forward.”

Van Graan will conduct an end of season review with the players and he suggested he’ll be unsparing in his feedback, while he committed to giving an overall reflection on his five-year tenure at a later date.

However, he didn’t feel that this was the time or the place.

“From the very first day I said this is not about me. We’ll do some reflection, I’ll speak later about the last five years,” he said.

“From a group point of view, we’ve got to face up to this as a group in terms of the supporters who came here, at home – they’ve been phenomenal all season.

“For Munster Rugby that performance today just wasn’t good enough.

“I don’t want to go into that (his legacy) tonight. I don’t think that I should do a reflection on that. We came here to win, we were still alive in the United Rugby Championship and all credit to Ulster, they outplayed us tonight.

“The frustrating thing tonight is we had opportunities, a big moment on the charge down from Gavin Coombes just after half-time and then twice in the game we didn’t get a try and they struck back straight away.

“So we’ll reflect on the game first before I look back on my time here.”

Despite the error-strewn performance, Van Graan insisted the team had trained well all week.

“We had a good training week,” he said.

“We as a group spoke in the middle of the pitch afterwards, there’s no excuses from our side.

“Our preparation went well, obviously not well enough to get a performance today.

“I take you back to the two things. The discipline bit, we concede a high tackle then a lineout in the corner and concede seven points so that’s just an example of where we weren’t good enough tonight.

“And in a game like this, in a knockout game, if you give a team like Ulster who have been quite magnificent all over the season you’re going to lose and we lost tonight.

“The message is we as a group have got to own it and take accountability for it. From a Munster point of view it’s very frustrating that our next game will only be in September so we as a group have got to take it until the next game.

“Look, our fans have been phenomenal. They stick with us through thick and thin but if we perform like that it’s not good enough.”

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