07 Mar 14
Munster A just edged out Connacht Eagles 32-26 in an eight-try thriller at Dooradoyle this afternoon.
Identifying the difference from pre-season form Holland says. "It was the intensity in everything we did, levels of concentration went up. To be fair, it should've been there in the early games but when they are points at stake and it's a competitive game, fellas attitude's are certainly different and that showed particularly, in defence. Ok we conceded 3 tries but two of those were from a good distance out. But I think the difference was that there was just a marked improvement in concentration and intensity from all the players across the board."
Holland highlights their end game at Murrayfield as a morale booster. "They'd huge fire power from 1 to 15. They could have scored from anywhere. So for us to be able keep them out at that late stage when they were inside our 22 - and we didn't help ourselves with our exit strategies, we weren't the best at that, but we'll get huge confidence from that and with such a young squad, confidence is a huge part of it."
But that game is now parked, the points banked and it's Benetton Treviso that occupies Holland's mind right now. "They've been improving consistently year by year, beat Ospreys last weekend so that gives us a fair indication.
"We're just focussing on ourselves, we've reviewed the game, there's a lot of little things we need to improve on. There was a huge jump last week but a lot more is needed. It's a new game plan we're trying to implement. So lots of things to work on.
"We're certainly not going to get carried away with ourselves but we'll take a bit more confidence in what we're trying to do."
On Friday Holland once again partners Donncha O'Callaghan in the second row where Munster are traditionally never shy of contenders. Last season he was mainly played in the back row but it's not the jersey number that concerns him. "Listen, to get anywhere, with the squad we have here, whether you're four, five, six or eight, anywhere in the pack you'll take the person's hand off for it (the jersey).
"There's such a good squad here. And that's hopefully what will drive us on during the year, is that lots of fellas will get opportunities.
"So whether it's the second row or the back row, I'm just very keen to make the most of it."
And asked about the difference in second and back row with a laugh he says " Bit more effort required in the second row in terms of pushing but the way the game is going, it doesn't matter to me what position I'm playing."