Tuesday 25 July 2017

Penney: We've got to win 'everything' to make play-offs

Rob Penney: Facing up hill battle to qualify
Rob Penney: Facing up hill battle to qualify

John Fallon

Munster coach Rob Penney has admitted that they probably need to win every game from now to the end of the campaign to reach the semi-finals of the Pro12.

Successive away defeats to Scarlets and Treviso have left Munster in sixth place, six points off an Ospreys side, who are in fourth and who they play in a crucial encounter at Thomond Park on Saturday.

The reigning champions turned Munster over 30-15 when the sides met in September at the Liberty Stadium, but Penney knows that his side have to prevail this time if they are to keep their qualification hopes alive.

"We've just got to win everything. That probably hasn't changed for about three weeks now; probably hasn't changed since before Christmas, to be fair," he said.

"There are six games to go and things can go for us as well. We'll see what happens. We'll focus on us. We can only control us. Our job is to get our there and perform as well as we can, as well as we are capable of and I know we are capable of, then the results will flow for us. We'll see but we've just got to perform well."

Penney's squad met in Mitchelstown yesterday to plot their campaign from here, with a three-week break following Saturday's clash. They next host Connacht on March 23 at Musgrave Park.

Munster then travel to high-flying Glasgow before hosting Leinster a week after their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Harlequins.

"We've had a couple of disappointing weeks on the back of a pretty good performance from a young group against Edinburgh at home.

We've travelled away twice and haven't delivered and that's where people probably look to the head table and want reassurance and want some direction.

"That's my job, like flying a 747, there's only certain times you get the blow torch on and this is one of them," added Penney.

Penney is likely to find out today if skipper Doug Howlett will be fit to play on Saturday when he is tested at training, but having only arrived back from Italy on Monday, they have had little time to work on issues.

"With a six day turnaround you don't have time to spend too much energy and effort on what's gone on in the past because you can't control it, but we have to because we have to learn from it.

"We've got a massive outing on Saturday night and we have to get our heads around that," said Penney.

Irish Independent

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