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Buoyant Penney piles praise on O'Connell

ROB PENNEY heaped praise on talismanic leader Paul O'Connell as Munster reignited their Heineken Cup campaign with a bonus point victory over Edinburgh.

"WE all know what he's capable of," said Penney, after O'Connell completed his second successive hour of competitive action to give Declan Kidney a timely boost ahead of the November internationals.

"It's just lovely to see him now looking like he's in really good shape and giving it all for 60 minutes.

"And as he heads into the next few weeks, hopefully he can stay on the park and be rewarded for his patience and diligence to play some consistent rugby. It's terrific news for everyone."

The Kiwi believes his side's bonus-point win will provide invaluable momentum and confidence ahead of their crucial back-to-back Heineken Cup meetings with Saracens in December.

The Irish provincial side currently trail Pool One leaders Saracens by three points, following their 33-0 demolition of a poor Edinburgh side at Thomond Park.

Three tries in the final 10 minutes from Peter O'Mahony, Sean Dougall and Damien Varley, to add to Conor Murray's earlier touchdown, ensured Munster collected an unlikely bonus point against the disappointing Scots.

Edinburgh failed to score a single point for the second successive Heineken Cup pool game, and having shipped 78 unanswered points in their two opening fixtures, have seen their hopes of making the quarter-finals all but disappear.

Speaking afterwards, Penney said: "The bonus point could be very important. The critical thing is we have a couple of massive games pre-Christmas against Saracens. We are still masters of our own destiny in that regard. If we do well then we are still in the hunt, whether we get bonus points or not.

"The performance today probably wouldn't be good enough to beat Saracens. We still have lots to do.

"The most pleasing thing about this win was the way the boys embraced their work and got into it."

The New Zealander added: "They were hurt after last week (against Racing Metro). We still have a lot of improving. Our unforced error rate was far too high.

"Edinburgh were hurting as well and for the first half it was competitive. I felt we dominated territorially for large parts and controlled the fixture to that point, but we hadn't capitalised or got the rewards."