Friday 20 October 2017

We will need to be at our best to beat Warriors

Ian Keatley kicks the winning drop-goal on Munster's last visit to Glasgow back in December Photo: Paul Devlin/Sportsfile
Ian Keatley kicks the winning drop-goal on Munster's last visit to Glasgow back in December Photo: Paul Devlin/Sportsfile

Jacques Nienaber

Being honest, if you said to me before our match with Racing, 'Listen I'll give you four points and you don't even have to play that match', I would have taken it - just a win would have been great.

So to leave Paris with all five points on the back of a good performance meant it went as well as we could have asked for.

I think the attitude was very good from the boys.

I'll leave the comment on the attacking side of the game to others, but in defence they were very good.

Their work rate was there, and they played for each other, so I was happy.

But this was a trip that we always knew would be difficult for the players. It was an emotional and difficult trip to make and their thoughts were of Axel and his family all weekend.

We didn't look forward to going back to Paris again, and it was tough for the players, but I thought they handled it well.

Last weekend was part of the way we wanted to honour him, but it will continue right through the season, every day we train and every day we play, he'll always be there.

But armed with that win from Paris and our other good results in the pool to date, this weekend is a simple equation: if we win this game in Glasgow we are through to the quarter-finals.

Yes, it is a big game, but if you look back, every game we have played since we faced Glasgow in the Pro12 at the start of December has been a huge occasion with so much on the line.

After we played them over there, we went into the back-to-back champions Cup games with Leicester Tigers; from there we had two inter-pro games at home to Leinster and away Connacht before last weekend's game in Paris.

mindset

It has been a busy seven or eight weeks with Christmas in between, so I feel we are used to the mindset of big challenges.

For sure Glasgow are a very good side. They are well established as a coaching team, and they have a good squad with a lot of international players to call on.

They know how they want to play and are able to execute their game plan. They like to attack from deep if there is a chance to do so, but they are not one-dimensional either.

They know how to play the territorial game when they have to.

If the conditions are not to their liking they can play the territorial game as good as anyone.

When we played there in December we saw how talented they are with their running and kicking game, so we know we face a real test tomorrow.

We got off to a great start in that game when Andrew Conway scored a try and Ian Keatley kicked well for us, but we still required Keats to kick a drop goal late in the game to take away the win. It will be very tough again tomorrow.

You might imagine that reaching the knockout stages of the Champions Cup was one of our targets at the start of the season, but it wasn't. It might sound funny, but we didn't set any specific goals. We are really process-driven in what we do.

We aim to play well in defence, in attack and to execute at set-piece, and after that the hope is that results will follow.

Everybody hopes to play well in big games, but getting to the quarter-finals or into the top four of the Pro12 are not our aims.

We have a process that we follow and we know we are in the beginning of something and we will have ups and downs. The goal is to be as competitive as we can as a team.

While I haven't been part of the club for too long, I still understand that Munster has not made the knockout stages in the Champions Cup in the last couple of seasons.

As a club with a proud tradition in the competition, it is a big thing for the people and supporters of Munster to see their team being competitive in Europe.

Success might or might not happen in year one, and to be a successful team you have to be consistent, but we'd all love to experience another positive result tomorrow.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport