Monday 26 September 2016

'Munster had the hunger, passion and desire they were lacking last week' - Alan Quinlan

Tom Rooney

Published 16/01/2016 | 15:59

16 January 2016; Keith Earls, Munster, is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his side's second try of the match. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Keith Earls, Munster, is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his side's second try of the match. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Keith Earls, Munster, is tackled by Sekou Macalou, Stade Francais, on his way to scoring his side's second try. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Keith Earls, Munster, on his way to scoring his side's second try. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick.tackled by Sekou Macalou, Stade Francais
16 January 2016; Munster's Simon Zebo is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his side's third try of the match. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Munster's Simon Zebo scores his side's third try of the match. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Ronan O'Mahony, Munster, is shown a yellow card by referee JP Doyle. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Simon Zebo, Munster, scores his side's third try. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Munster supporters during the game. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
16 January 2016; Munster's Ian Keatley kicks a conversion. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5, Munster v Stade Francais. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Alan Quinlan has commended the manner in which Munster responded to last weekend’s chastening defeat to Stade Francais with their bonus point win over the French champions today.

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The southern province ran in four tries at Thomond Park this afternoon against Stade en route to a 26-13 victory, having lost their three previous  Champions Cup Pool 4 contests.

Of course, following Munster’s loss 27-7 in Pairs, Quinlan described the showing of his former team as, among other things, disgraceful. In the interim, the malaise currently plaguing the two-time European Champions has dominated headlines.

Anthony Foley’s ability to lead the province has been a continuing source of speculation, even more so since Ireland’s new defence coach, Andy Farrell, was drafted in on a part-time basis in a bid to stop the rot.

However, Munster demonstrated a genuine resolve this afternoon, while their general play was eminently more efficient. Speaking post match, Quinlan told Sky Sports that he stood by his comments last week, though was pleased to see Munster bounce back and was hopeful the performance might be a sign of things to come..

“I took no pleasure about anything I said last week. It was out of frustration,” he said. “I care about the team, I want them to do well. What I questioned last week was the defensive effort, and that’s a desire, honesty and a passion.

“What we got today was a reaction. I was really impressed with the way guys got back up off the ground; they wanted to make more tackles, they wanted to help their teammates. Hopefully these guys will learn from the adversity they’ve had in the last couple of weeks and kick on now, and get a bit of consistency.”

"The players have got to take responsibility. And what we saw today was honesty, hunger, passion and desire; stuff that I questioned last week. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m right – it doesn’t matter. The players have to go out and do it."

Head coach Anthony Foley joined the conversation pitch side and was asked whether Quinlan’s opprobrium had affected his squad. While not directly addressing the question, Foley said that the current Munster group was a callow one and, accordingly, should be considered when being crirtiqued.

“What Alan says is what Alan says, and he’s entitled to his opinion. He suffered the bad days and the good days. It’s happened to Munster teams in the past and it’ll happen again in the future. It’s about making sure we have a stable environment we can build and grow off.

“It’s building a new group. We have two academy players in our match day 23 today, and two guys on development contracts in our 23.  It’s a developing group that’s growing and learning the whole time and for a few of the guys this is their first experience of Munster in Europe.

“It’s hard at times because there’s an expectation, we all appreciate that, but there has to be realism with it,” Foley said.

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