Richard Cockerill was phlegmatic in the aftermath of defeat in Limerick. Perhaps he expected to lose, but perhaps he was already plotting next year’s campaign and revenge.
“I think it was a good contest,” the Edinburgh coach said of the 20-16 defeat by Munster. “I am very proud of Edinburgh’s performance. It was a game that, if we had been a little more accurate, it was a game that we could have won. In the end you get what you deserve and we got what we deserved.
“To push this side in this stadium so close that they are defending for their lives at the end... we should take a huge amount of pride in that. We have built some solid foundations but we are not in the same league as Leinster or others.
“It is a good starting point and at least we showed today that we can compete and earn the respect of the teams we play.”
Cockerill explained the absence of flanker Jamie Richie who was hurt in a “freak accident” at training last week and failed to make the plane. Edinburgh started Lewis Carmichael, a lock by trade, on the blindside and Magnus Bradbury played openside simply because Cockerill insisted he was out of options.
Admittedly Hamish Watson and John Hardie were already sidelined, although international breakaway Cornel du Preez was started on the bench!
The re-arranged pack of forwards put in a great shift. Edinburgh dominated possession and territory but probably made a few too many mistakes over the piece to deserve to win. There were knock-on, players on the ball took far more time than Munster were willing to grant them and, as Cockerill pointed out, Edinburgh’s mistake at the eighth-minute lineout inside their own 22 gifted Munster seven points in a game that they lost by four.
“Munster are a very good side,” Cockerill reminded everyone. “They’ve got world class at nine who controls the game, they have experience that we haven’t got.
“The reality is that we have to learn the lessons from today because it’s a four-point ball game and we gave them seven from the lineout. Big game, we made an error, they score and we lose by four.”