Having taken Leinster’s scalp in the semi-finals Scarlets upset the form book again on Saturday as they comprehensively saw off Munster 46-22 in Dublin to claim a first-ever Pro12 title.
The Welsh side ran in six tries at the Aviva Stadium in a resounding victory over an out-of-sorts Munster side, whose performance was littered with handling errors and ill-discipline.
“If we play them three times, that won’t always be the difference but we can’t argue tonight, they were much better than us,” Munster’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus told the media after Saturday’s defeat.
“The reality is that they were better, they have been together for three years, they have been coached for a while and they peaked.
“No excuses, we will suck it up and start it again.
“We weren’t good on the night and they were excellent, from turnovers to the chances they took, they put pressure on us at breakdown.
“A very good performance from them but average from us.
“They scored unbelievable tries but we turned over the ball to give them the opportunities. They believe in the way their coaches are coaching them.”
Erasmus also dismissed suggestions that Munster were over-emotional going into the final, as the club looked to win silverware at the end of a season in which Munster head coach Anthony Foley passed away suddenly.
“If we did the week over, I wouldn’t change anything. There was a lot of analysis which obviously we got wrong but we weren’t over-emotional,” said Erasmus, who also challenged the idea that Munster cannot take the next step to winning silverware, after also losing out to Saracens in the Champions Cup semi-finals.
“Maybe it is just where we are. It’s wrong to say when you get a 40-point hiding, you are proud of them but they went through a lot this season,” he said.
“We’ve grown in two competitions but maybe this was a step too far.
“It’s a disappointing dressing-room. When the emotion dies off, and we look back, we will assess the season as not so bad but now we are disappointed.”
Despite opening the scoring through a Tyler Bleyendaal penalty, Munster paid for a slow start at the Aviva, as Scarlets surged ahead through tries from Liam Williams, Steff Evans, Gareth Davies and Tadhg Beirne. Bleyendaal touched down for Munster, but they still 29-10 at the break.
DTH van der Merwe added another Scarlets try before Andrew Conway and Keith Earls claimed consolation scores for Munster. James Davies went over late on to cap a fine performance by the Welsh side.