Friday 22 November 2019

Brian Walsh: It's difficult to pick holes but we can still improve

Munster’s Simon Zebo has had some time to impress at full-back during the World Cup
Munster’s Simon Zebo has had some time to impress at full-back during the World Cup

Brian Walsh

It is hard to be too critical when we won our third game of the season and are joint top of the Pro12, but we all know that we still have plenty of things that we can improve.

We were pleased with certain aspects of the win against Glasgow last weekend, but it's no different to the previous week: we left it late to go and win the game.

At this stage of the season not everything is functioning as well as it might be. Certain areas let us down, but we're very happy to have won the first three games and to have plenty to improve on.

The gap to the Cardiff game gives us plenty of opportunity to work on things that aren't just right, but it's all going in the right direction, so we're happy out.

Glasgow are a very good team, I know they have a lot away with the World Cup but they have a very big squad. And talking to one or two of their coaches afterwards they have plenty of bodies and plenty of good players, so they are still a strong side.

We've just conceded one try all season and that is pretty pleasing. We're working on our defence all the time, but the frustration at the moment is probably that we're leaving a few scores behind us in each game.

We're putting ourselves in good opportunities to score more points, but maybe taking the foot off the accelerator at times. We need that consistency.


You always start with a view to not conceding anything - if you don't concede points you don't lose.

We have to look at the penalty count too and what's going on at the other end. It's certainly a positive to be solid on the back foot, but we feel we have plenty of work to do right across the board at the moment. We'll continue to work on that, though.

Focusing on our set-piece, our scrum was particularly strong and out lineout was loose. That was the nature of things on the night, we weren't accurate enough with our execution at the lineout and that probably starved us of a bit of possession in key areas of the pitch and the ability to build pressure and build momentum.

We'd do a couple of good things, but we'd lose a set-piece and then we were on the back foot for a while.

It's hard to get into any kind of a rhythm when you don't have that platform. There were small things: a few overthrows and a couple of crookeds, but we can iron out those issues as we go along.

Our lineout is traditionally very strong, so we need to do a bit of a tidy up there in the next couple of weeks and hopefully all will be ship-shape next time round.

For parts of the game against Glasgow I felt we shouldn't have let it get that far: we had enough opportunities to put them away early on, but we didn't seize the momentum for various reasons.

It's always dangerous to be on the wrong side of the penalty count in the second half through a critical period which didn't allow us build any pressure or momentum. So we were very pleased to have the character to come back and get ahead twice in the final ten minutes and win it.

Any kick to win a game like that is a pressure kick, but Ian Keatley has been kicking very well in the last couple of weeks and he is in a bit of a groove at the moment, so we are all pretty confident when he takes the ball and puts it down.

It was a pressure kick and it's great for his confidence and great for the team. It was the deciding factor on the night.

Cardiff is our next game in Cork this day week, so essentially we are in for a normal week this week without the pressure of a game this weekend.

We had a good run-out against Leinster A on Wednesday and a few of the guys that didn't play last weekend had a good run-out, which is vital ahead of this busy schedule that's just around the corner.

The lads will have this weekend off, and I'm sure they'll all be tuning in to see how Ireland go against France on Sunday.

Peter O'Mahony had a massive game last weekend, and it's great to see Simon Zebo get good game-time in the No 15 shirt.

Conor Murray is performing very well too so it will be interesting to see the team for the next day when it's announced later. I'm sure we'll be well represented again.

We're all hoping they continue to do well and bring that form back to us when they come back.

Irish Independent

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