Saturday 18 January 2020

Penney thrilled by Munster showing

Munster head coach Rob Penney was proud of his side overcoming the "psychological stress" of their shock opening defeat to Edinburgh to beat Gloucester 26-10 in the Heineken Cup Pool Six tie at Thomond Park.

Munster got their campaign back on track with a hard-earned victory over their much-changed English opponents. Tries from Damien Varley and Johne Murphy, together with 16 points from the boot of Ian Keatley, guided the province home.

Penney said: "I am very pleased. The Gloucester lads were resolute. They were a tough nut to crack. They deserve a lot of credit, coming over with a lot of changes. They made it a tough night for us.

"There are still elements of the performance we can grow. There is no doubt about that. There is no doubting their energy and effort. The week we had was a tough old one for the boys.

"I am just really proud of the fact that they were able to overcome all that psychological stress and come out with the result. That was really important for everyone.

"There were times when we probably should have been looking to play a bit more territory in the second half. To give Gloucester some credit, they covered the backfield really well and there wasn't a lot of space there.

"The try that Johne (Murphy) scored on the back of Ian Keatley's great little nudge to the corner was one of the few times there was evidence of space. They deserve credit for that."

Nigel Davies, Gloucester's director of rugby, was disappointed with the outcome but pleased by the character in which his team played.

The visitors scored all of their points in the first half courtesy of a Charlie Sharples try and five points from Jonny Bentley's boot.

"I am obviously bitterly disappointed about the result," said Davies. "We probably weren't accurate enough when we had opportunities around the ball. It was our own doing in many ways. We have to look at ourselves first and foremost there.

"In terms of the effort and the commitment the team showed, it was fantastic. I am very, very proud of the group of players that took the field today."

Commenting on his decision to make 12 changes from the 27-22 round one win over Perpignan, Davies added: "I was comfortable all along that it was the right thing to do. We had a very physical encounter against Perpignan a week ago.

"We probably would not have made as many changes but for some being forced on us. The players who played tonight were able to prepare physically and mentally for this big, big match. To me they performed to a large degree.

"I was disappointed with our accuracy on the ball. Our defence was good. With the contact area I was a bit bemused. I will look at my law book to find out what I need to be doing differently."

PA Media

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