Monday 19 March 2018

Discipline is not an issue in our Munster squad, insists Van Graan


Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Munster head coach Johann van Graan has defended his side's disciplinary issues and dismissed the suggestion that it is a problem within the squad.

Sam Arnold became the third Munster player to be sent off this season for his dangerous tackle against Ulster, which last night earned him a three-week ban.

As well as the three red cards, Munster have accumulated nine yellow cards this season (two in Europe) and conceded 114 penalties in 12 Guinness PRO14 games, which leaves them bottom of the fair play league table.

Van Graan, however, does not believe that indiscipline is a rampant problem, but rather a case of individuals making poor decisions.

"I don't think it's a necessarily a squad discipline issue," the Munster boss insisted. "You have to look at the incidents themselves.


"I thought Sammy had a fantastic few weeks. I thought he was one of the in-form players in Ireland. He went out to make a hit on Christian (Leali'ifano). He hit him hard. This is a collision sport. Unfortunately, he hit him and his shoulder slid up and hit Christian in the face.

"Like I said after the game, he left the referee no choice. Player welfare is very important. He'll learn out of this. He is just anxious to get in there and play.

"Fineen (Wycherley), a 20-year-old lock, gets his opportunity away from home. I thought he did really well, he just rolled into their tunnel. If you see the picture, it's very difficult for the referee not to yellow-card him.

"We'll learn. We spoke about it as a squad. We have to learn from these incidents. We put ourselves under pressure. If you are 17-0 up, it's not necessarily a rugby planning thing, it's basically decisions from players."

Munster have an injury crisis ahead of Saturday's visit of Connacht as Niall Scannell (ribs), Tommy O'Donnell (shoulder) and Calvin Nash (hip) face spells out.

Billy Holland and Chris Cloete suffered head knocks, but in more positive news, Chris Farrell (knee) could bolster the midfield.

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