Monday 21 August 2017

'Shattered' McGahan laments lack of discipline in eye of storm

Hugh Farrelly

MUNSTER coach Tony McGahan was "shattered" by the defeat which dumped the province out of the Heineken Cup at the pool stages for the first time in 12 years and accepted that it could be seen as the end of an era for the 2006 and 2008 champions.

"It's a very pertinent question and certainly a very realistic one," said McGahan. "This group has gone through a lot of time together and we have been making subtle changes to the playing group in the last two years. We need to deal with where we are at, we need to make sure we get results for the rest of the year.

"I'm absolutely shattered to be out of the Heineken Cup campaign, especially after a very disappointing performance," he added, pointing to discipline issues and two yellow cards as major factors in Toulon's victory.

"Thirteen points conceded when we had two players off the park, and there were a couple of penalties from scrums (that) added to the scoreline. Most of all it's the lack of accuracy trying to put anything together. I thought we were very frantic at times, particularly in the first half. We had a bit of a dried-up source from our set-piece so we needed to make sure we controlled our ball to put some pressure on them but we weren't able to do that.

Frantic

"When you're playing a little bit side to side and it's a bit frantic, you try and make things happen when you get your hands on the ball," added McGahan.

"I thought we contested the breakdown very well and had some good turnovers in defence but, again, you work hard to get them and then turn the ball straight back over. Add in the indiscipline and penalties and it's very difficult and I thought they (Toulon) played outstandingly well. Their defence was excellent, they really picked our runners around the ruck or whether it was out wide.

"We just have to get on with things. We have our last game next week and we have to finish off the game as best as we can. And over the six-week break with the Six Nations we have to make sure we regroup and face into it head on and we have the Magners League. To be only competing in one competition is a little strange."

McGahan's counterpart Philippe Saint-Andre knows the significance of putting Munster out, having come up second best to the province during his time with Sale, and the Toulon coach was the picture of satisfaction.

"To beat a team like Munster, one of the best in Europe, to be in the quarter-finals when a side like Munster is not for the first time in 12 years, is special," said Saint-Andre. "I said to my players all week, 'you are under no pressure' and I was really proud of what they did out there."

Irish Independent

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