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Munster off mark but McGahan eyes progress

A BONUS-POINT win for Munster in their Magners League opener against Italian side Aironi had coach Tony McGahan beaming at Musgrave Park on Saturday evening.

"We knew they would come with a very strong set piece and a very good scrum, so we needed to make sure we scrummaged for the full 80 minutes, and I thought we did that to a great extent," said McGahan after the 33-17 victory in which he was able to substitute his front row on 54 minutes with no let up in scrum intensity.

"We're by no means the finished article (in the scrum), but we're making progress each week, and that's really important.

"We need to make sure that we focus on our own ball first, and then continue to do decent work on their ball."

Felix Jones produced an eye-catching display from full-back, pouncing for the first try after 26 minutes with the scores tied at 6-6 through the penalty kicking of Paul Warwick and Ludovic Mercier.

The game changed after the break when Perugini was dispatched for a tackle off the ball. Munster went for the jugular and Niall Ronan, the pick of the forwards along with second-row Mick O'Driscoll, battered his way over for the first of his two tries, with Tony Buckley doing the same a couple of minutes later.

Meanwhile, Connacht also got their Magners League campaign off to a flyer with a bonus-point win over Newport-Gwent Dragons at the Sportsground, Galway.

On their 40-17 win, coach Eric Elwood said: "We are not getting carried away with ourselves. We also said if the result didn't go our way that we wouldn't get carried away with ourselves."