Keith Earls has questioned the decision to award arch rivals Leinster a penalty try during Munster’s Guinness PRO14 defeat at Aviva Stadium on Saturday night.

Munster wing Earls was yellow-carded by referee Ben Whitehouse in the 11th minute of the interprovincial derby, which saw champions Leinster edge their neighbours 30-22.

He was penalised for making early contact with opposing wing James Lowe fractionally before the New Zealander collected a potentially try-scoring pass.

Yet while he accepted his personal punishment of 10 minutes in the sin bin, Ireland star Earls believes his error did not deserve the penalty try Whitehouse awarded to give Leinster an early 7-0 lead.

Earls and Munster paid a further price during his time in the bin as Leinster’s Lowe ran in his first of two tries on the night, Ross Byrne’s conversion opening up a 14-0 lead that left the southern province chasing the game.

“Obviously it was a split-second decision,” Earls said on Monday.

“I do come in contact with him (Lowe) but he’s a big enough lad, I didn’t think he would go down that easy.

“But look, if you go by the letter of the law, yeah, it probably is a yellow card but a penalty try, I don’t think so.

“Whether I was going to hold him up or the ball was going away from, he was reaching but that’s the decision the referee made.”



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