Friday 26 December 2014

'Hurting' Munster desperate to get back on track

Published 07/01/2013 | 05:00

James Coughlan is tackled by Sam Warburton at Musgrave Park

TRADITIONALLY when Munster have a performance as abject as Saturday's, their training pitch the following week becomes a battle ground.

Cranky players make for tasty training sessions. There will be some very sore bodies after their weekly contact session tomorrow.

The players who were involved in the game against Cardiff will need to rid their system of any of the toxic remains from that performance and those returning will want to condition themselves ahead of Sunday's European game against Edinburgh in Murrayfield.

Rob Penney is certainly expecting a reaction.

"A bad result can inspire you and, while it can also be a hindrance, I think this group will prepare well next week and do everything they need to do to get themselves in the right spot to play well," he said.

"When you lose it certainly makes you have a laser-point focus to the week and it is exciting to think about the opportunities that are before us.

"We have just got to try and maximise our ability to get the playing group into a good frame of mind and come up with the right tactics and hopefully implement them efficiently," he said.

Munster need to improve in a host of areas – not least their concentration, according to the coach.

"I think maybe guys were daydreaming as they ran down the touchline. It is something that we are conscious of and we are just not efficient at it yet," said Penney.

"But the boys are hurting so they will respond in the appropriate way, so that's all you can ask of them. You alluded to the fact that we talked earlier on in the year about the roller-coaster ride and we are obviously still on it," added Penney, who has three injury concerns ahead of next weekend's showdown.

Stephen Archer took a heavy bang to a thigh muscle on the hour mark and was replaced by BJ Botha – it was a shame as it was his best performance in a Munster shirt.

The bruising will need to settle before a proper prognosis is known but the Munster medical staff are hopeful.

Mike Sherry injured an ankle early in the first half but was able to play on for a while before he limped off in the 23rd minute.

He was getting around with the benefit of crutches after the game and a scan this morning will determine the extent of his injury.

Conor Murray had to have stitches after suffering facial lacerations – "he's missing some bark" is how Penney put it – but he will be fit to face Edinburgh.

Irish Independent

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