Monday 18 December 2017

Watching other games will do us no good, insists Ryan

Conor George

Conor George

MUNSTER and Ireland second-row Donnacha Ryan will resist the urge to spend the weekend glued to the television worrying about the possible knock-on effects of other matches.

The results of the games between Exeter and Leinster and Montpellier and Toulon will determine what Munster will need to do in their Sunday afternoon clash with Racing Metro.

Ryan will leave it to others to work out the permutations, though.

"I'll be trying to keep a relaxed frame of mind and stay focused on what we've got to do on Sunday ourselves more than what other results dictate what we must do," said Ryan.

"I half-wanted to watch the matches last weekend but, on the other hand, didn't want to get wound up. I think it's best to focus on what we'll have to do as a team ourselves, to look after what we can control. If we do that we'll be alright."

The constant examination of how Munster play the game these days is as tedious to the players as it is the general public. Game plans, as Ryan acknowledges, don't really matter if a team underperforms.


"We've got to be a lot smarter from the way we've played over there and the way we've played the last couple of weeks," said the Tipperary man.

"We've really got to focus on basically building a system and not doing silly stuff. It's counter-productive to have one-off runners and lose the ball at the breakdown as a consequence.

"We have to tighten things up and have more control when we have the ball in attack. When we're in the opposition half we have to make that territorial gain count."

One area where Munster will certainly have to improve is their return out of touch. The set-piece is crucial in the game, especially as a launch pad for attack and Munster have been guilty of butchering some excellent opportunities in recent weeks.

"I take a bit of ownership for the Cardiff game. I wouldn't have had a lot of a relationship built up with Sean Henry and that probably would have been my fault," said Ryan.

"If you have a good rapport with the thrower it does help, especially when you're under pressure.

"I played with (hooker) Damien Varley in school and apart from the first line-out, I thought he had a fantastic day against Edinburgh, and I thought all the lads responded really well.

"We could have easily started to panic and second-guess ourselves when we missed that first one, but the lads got down and got stuck in, which will stand us well for Sunday."

The game, of course, kicks off at the unusual time of 12.45 on Sunday, although Ryan revealed that the players have slowly come around to the benefit of the early start this time.

"Yes, a number of weeks ago we were a bit bemused at having to play a game on Sunday at lunch, so it's obviously quite ironic the way it's turned out!" Ryan added.

"It has worked in our favour this week. We still have a challenge to meet but we are lucky the way it has worked out."

Irish Independent

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