There are reports this morning that Munster Rugby have lodged an appeal with the ERC regarding Fridays Heineken Cup match against Llanelli Scarlets. Apparently Munster have raised issues with the Citing Commissioner regarding the eligibility of some of the Llanelli players.
Following the 24-15 loss, the Munster coach, Declan Kidney, is said to be furious with the Scarlets: “Llanelli went out there tonight and played a good game, and deservedly won. But they did so illegally. Yes, they had the better team, and the better tactics, on the night, but they did so in contravention of the Laws of the game of Rugby Union. We have accordingly contacted the Citing Commissioner and have reported them for not complying with Section (5) Rule (1) of the Munster Rugby Laws.”
As disposed European Cup champions, the Munster Rugby Branch are required to hand back the cup immediately to the ERC. As a result of this dispute Munster have announced that they will not do so.
In a statement released on behalf of the Munster Branch, President Ralph Murray said, “Munster Rugby have brought a proud tradition to this Cup, and we have worked hard to earn our right as European Champions. Therefore, as we do not recognise that the loss against Llanelli Scarlets is a valid game, we have decided to withhold the Cup from the ERC until such a time as an amicable solution can be found.”
Ralph Murray went on to elaborate on the Munster Branch’s preferred solution to the impasse, “Our position is that as we have lost a considerable amount of respect in world rugby circles, we should be given a bye straight into the Heineken Cup Final to be held in Twickenham on May 20th. Our preference for the opposition on that day is Leinster. We have beaten them before, and we feel that an easy match such as this would do much to reconcile the Branch with the ERC.”
In response, Jean-Pierre Lux, Chairman of the ERC, responded that the ERC are willing to consider Munsters claims, but that as the issue stands, the Munster Branch must first return the Heineken Cup. According Mr Murray, the Munster Branch are more then willing to return the Cup provided that it is presented to them on the 20th May. It is thought that the ERC are unwilling to make such a guarantee.
Following a brief exchange of words, relations between the ERC and the Munster Branch were suspended when Mr Murray called Mr Lux a “Cheese-eating surrender monkey”, and went on to say that “A true, red-blooded Munster man would rather die than to give in on a matter of pride.” He ended his tirade shouting that if the ERC wanted the Cup back, then “They could come and get it.”
The location of the cup is currently unknown, but there are rumours circulating the city that members of the McCarthy-Dundan gang have been seen in their local drinking from a rather ornate chalice. These have yet to be corroborated.
Note: Section (5), Rule (1) is a little utilised rule that basically states that when confronted by much better opposition, a Munsters win must be in inverse proportion to the difference in quality between the two teams. For example, if Munster play a team that is close to, or beneath, them is terms of ability, then they will merely scratch out a win. However, if the team is a class above them, then they will win by a cricket score, and play the type of rugby that makes Limerick dock workers cry and compare the game to a beautiful sunrise over Lough Derg. This rule also applies when Munster take part in a game that requires them to win by a specific number of tries or points. Usually referred to as the “Miracle Match Rule”. See Munster vs Gloucester for an example.