Friday 6 December 2019

Blame players for Munster's poor start - O'Callaghan

Munster's Donncha O'Callaghan in action during squad training
Munster's Donncha O'Callaghan in action during squad training

John Fallon

Munster's most capped player Donncha O'Callaghan insists that the poor start to the season which saw them lose their two of their opening three home games was entirely the fault of players.

The 35-year old, who made his 253rd Munster appearance on Saturday when he captained them to a 28-24 win over Cardiff Blues, said players did not deliver against Edinburgh and Ospreys and paid the price.

But Munster have not looked back since defeating Leinster at the Aviva Stadium and have now chalked up five wins on the spin, and O'Callaghan said they are in a good place heading into the break for the November internationals.

"We were frustrated at the start of the season especially with the Edinburgh and Ospreys game where we didn't really reflect a week's work that went into us.

"The coaching staff are doing an incredible amount of work. Everything is prepped for us and then as a player you don't go out and don't respond and don't do well, you feel bad, and I think that was a case where it totally lies with the players.

"But now I think we are reflecting work. I know the coaches won't be happy with performance against Cardiff, but I think just to get the win is great."

That win maintains Munster's superb run away from home this season which has seen them win all four games against Treviso, Leinster, Sale Sharks and now Cardiff.

O'Callaghan, who won the last of his 94 Irish caps against France in the 2013 Six Nations, said the key to progress in the Pro12 was having a big squad.

He made his British & Irish Cup debut the previous week in a win away to Nottingham, and feels that competition is serving Munster well.

"Eleven fellas leaving for Irish camp, there's a bit of a void but you have to step up when you're given your chance and the lads did that against Cardiff," he added.

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