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Munster Looking To Get Back On Track

10th September 2009 By Munster Rugby

Munster Looking To Get Back On Track

Munster coach Tony McGahan and his Cardiff Blues opposite number Dai Young probably shared a similar depth of frustartion afteer their side’s respective defeats last weekend.

Although Munster’s card was marked a while before the closing minutes, in contrast Cardiff Blues almost snatched victory with a late Gareth Thomas try, Ben Blair’s difficult conversion for victory drifting narrowly wide.  “The frustrating thing for me is, for season on season, we are awfully slow starters. I think last season, for the first three games we were very poor.” Young said.

“”Certainly for 50 minutes of the Edinburgh match we we’re only just hanging in there. However, we showed a lot of character to come back into the game.”

Likewise one of the few positives for McGahan perhaps was the way his side got themselves back into the game. “Yes certainly that was the case. After a good start to that game we fell away and went behind. We had a good middle spell to put ourselves in a position to take something from the game but then fell away again.

“But quite clearly the performance last week was way below what we had expected of ourselves. We just didn’t play well.

” Yes we did have a tough time at scrum time but credit Glasgow for the sort of pressure they managed to exert in that area. The work has been put in this week in training to address that.  They’ve (Glasgow) always proved a difficult away fixture for us and they looked a good side. We’ll not be the only team to struggle against them up there.”   

McGahan also made reference to the number of penalties Munster conceded, “There was the question of our discipline and again that is something we’ve spoken about in our squad meetings this week.”

Looking ahead to Friday’s game, McGahan said, “Cardiff Blues are a powerful side. They have a strong pack, very physical and loads of pace in the backs.  They will certainly be smarting after their loss at home to Edinburgh and that makes them all the more formidable. I believe we will have to match them up front and with a kicker of the quality of Ben Blair we cannot afford to give away soft penalties.”

Munster: Felix Jones; Doug Howlett, Barry Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Denis Hurley; Jeremy Manning, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes; Mick O’Driscoll capt, Donnacha Ryan; Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy. Replacements: Damian Varley, Tony Buckley, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Toby Morland, Scott Deasy, Tom Gleeson.

Cardiff Blues: John Yapp, Rhys Thomas, Taufa’ao Filise; Deiniol Jones, Paul Tito; Mamma Molitika, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Xavier Rush. Gareth Cooper, Ceri Sweeney; Chris Czekaj, Dafydd Hewitt, Gareth Thomas, Leigh Halfpenny; Ben Blair.  Replacements:  Gary Powell, Gareth Williams, Scott Morgan, Andy Powell, Richie Rees, Sam Norton-Knight, Dafydd James.

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