Wednesday 28 September 2016

David Wallace: Great chance to return to winning ways

Inexperience cost us in Glasgow, but Treviso should be there for taking

David Wallace

Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30

Ronan O’Mahoney shows his disappointment after Munster’s defeat against Glasgow. Photo: Sportsfile
Ronan O’Mahoney shows his disappointment after Munster’s defeat against Glasgow. Photo: Sportsfile

In what was a thoroughly enjoyable encounter against Glasgow, and you couldn't fault anyone on either side, the Scots just managed to grind it out.

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It was inexperienced Munster side especially with Robin Copeland and Tommy O'Donnell going off with knocks.

Munster performed really well and they'll feel bitterly disappointed having come back twice from behind only to be outdone by Glasgow's 70th-minute try following a fantastic Simone Favaro steal at the breakdown just out from Munster's try line.

The situation leading to this turnover really called for a strong pod to hit it up rather than a single runner into the hungry Glasgow defence that could smell blood.

It's a valuable lesson and no doubt Munster's up-and-coming talent will learn from it and the importance of ball security and clearing their lines - a key component in learning how to close out games. They are certainly not far off and can take a lot of pride from that performance. The signs are definitely good.

Losing Tommy was a blow just after half-time. Robin Copeland too - he was playing really well in his all-too-brief 17-minute stint before injury. It has been difficult for him because he hasn't been first choice but he seems to be finding his feet and has played a lot of rugby this year.

This weekend, maybe it's good Treviso are coming into form. Munster won't be going there complacent - well they shouldn't be. Munster have played them a few times this season, but I wouldn't take too much from those wins. Their team has changed and they are on the back of a couple of good performances and wins. They could be dangerous.

Having said that, Munster are desperate for points; it's not quite backs to the walls yet, but there is a bit of pressure on. Munster will have their sights set on being in contention of getting into the top four in a few games' time. We are getting closer to that stage now, so the results need to start coming.

OPPORTUNITY

This sort of game provides a massive opportunity to get the ball rolling, build momentum and get some points. Every point is important and they don't want to be fighting for a European play-off.

That is massive, and you don't want that extra pressure of having to slog it out for the last few games, just to get into the top six. Munster really need to make the most of the situation, with three of the bottom teams coming up next in the Pro12.

Outside of the league, the Six Nations is back in action this weekend, and a wounded Ireland will be travelling to take on England in Twickenham. It is also a big game for the English. They have played arguably the two weakest teams in the Championship so far. They will see this as their first real test.

They have home advantage, and Twickenham is a really difficult place to go and try and win, especially with the injuries Ireland have picked up.

For Ireland, not having a win from the first two games is disappointing, especially when you are two-time champions coming into the competition but the margins have been minuscule and they have every right to feel aggrieved after Paris. Ireland will look to get a head of steam going forward again. Ireland's title hopes are probably gone at this stage but they will want to finish on a high.

This game is the biggest challenge that's left for Ireland, and they have had a couple of weeks off. But with that lengthy injury list they will be finding it a little bit harder. And it is interesting to see how the match-ups work out.

Against Italy, England's fitness told in the end but I don't think that's going to happen against a really hungry Irish side. Ireland will be tested, but like playing Saracens, Ireland need to target the Vunipolas because they really are England's go-forward guys.

But this is definitely one that Ireland can catch them out in. England have a new coach, he's obviously on a bit of high now and I'm sure England feel like they are unbeatable.

Many times in the past Ireland have gone to Twickenham as underdogs, they have lost a few, but there's nothing as sweet as beating England there.

Irish Independent

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