Friday 15 December 2017

McGahan urges pack to front up to Castres and build on O'Gara heroics

Tony McGahan says there's no chance that Munster would be able to replicate on the training ground the 41-phase move which snatched victory against Northampton.

McGahan was asked how confident he would be of his players being able to go out on the training pitch, go through the move again and deliver the same outcome. "100pc," he replied immediately, before adding the rider: "no chance".

The coach said Munster needed to move from that game and park the dramatic end which saw Ronan O'Gara wrench the points from the Saints' grasp with his last-gasp drop goal.

Munster now head to Toulouse to play Castres in buoyant mood and McGahan paid tribute to the way the result was carved.

"The players stuck to it right to the end and we knew we would have to make sure we were right in it at the end to get that result. So, it was terrific for the squad and for the fans," he said.

"The entertainment that was put on by both sides, the intensity and the pace of the game was terrific, it was a high-quality game. As a spectacle, it was a true indicator of where this competition is and how difficult it is to get a result."


McGahan said Munster face another searching test against Castres and they know they will have a big battle on their hands.

"They are a very good and very consistent side. I have been watching the Top 14 in the last two and a bit years and their progress to turn into a side that's up in the top four... they have built a strong forward pack.

"They have got a very strong No 9 and 10 who kick the ball very well and two big centres who are able play through that channel-one position.

"They have a strong start to this season in particular and they are going to be a typical trench-warfare side -- it's going to be a real battle and we need our forwards to come to the fore again."

McGahan made some big selection calls last week with the likes of Donncha O'Callaghan and Denis Leamy having to settle for places on the bench, and he has not ruled out something similar this week. The coach said he was impressed by the players when they were introduced and stressed the need for a strong squad to carry them through.

McGahan has named an unchanged squad for the trip to France with John Ryan -- who was called into the starting-day squad when Marcus Horan was forced to withdraw -- retained. Horan came through training on Monday and if he does likewise today, he will travel to France.

Munster (squad v Castres ) -- M Horan, J Ryan, W du Preez, BJ Botha, J Hayes, S Archer, D Varley, D Fogarty, D Ryan, P O'Connell, D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll, B Holland, P O'Mahony, N Ronan, J Coughlan, D Leamy, C Murray, T O'Leary, P Stringer, D Williams, R O'Gara, I Keatley, S Deasy, J Murphy, D Howlett, D Barnes, W Chambers, L Mafi, D Hurley.

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