Saturday 21 July 2018

Munster have to be more consistent, warns O'Donnell

Tommy O’Donnell. Photo: Sportsfile
Tommy O’Donnell. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

The equation for Munster couldn't be simpler. Lose to Edinburgh tomorrow night and they lose all control of their destiny for next season.

Much of the focus this week has been around the appointment of Rassie Erasmus, but the good feeing generated by such a stellar appointment would be undone if the province were playing in the Challenge Cup in 2016/'17.

For all that Anthony Foley has paid the price for poor results this season with demotion, the players have a chance to give themselves a fresh start.

With just two games remaining, Munster trail the Scottish side on points difference ahead of the Irish Independent Park clash, with Cardiff Blues and Ospreys - who meet on Saturday - lurking behind and still in contention for the final European place.


Inconsistency within games has plagued the southern province this season and Tommy O'Donnell (above) believes they need to keep their concentration for 80 minutes in order to turn the tide.

"Edinburgh have what we want so we need to go out with that mentality that, at the moment, they're the ones that are ahead of us and we have to go out and attack them," the flanker said.

"In the last couple of weeks, we have played quite well, albeit in fits and starts. We have had both Connacht and Leinster in trouble for a while but we just weren't consistent enough throughout the game.

"We have to take that approach. Without one or two little errors, and a little bit more game management, we could be sitting a lot better and we could be playing a lot better rugby.

"I just think it's probably knocking off for a second. We had a man down against Connacht and all we had to do was to keep them up in their '22 for two minutes, but they managed to go the length of the pitch and we end up with another man gone.

"So it's a bit of unluckiness and a great bit of play out of Connacht, how well they are able to exploit those mistakes that we made."

The Scots are one of the less glamorous sides in the Guinness Pro12, but under Alan Solomons they have built a solid core and are a tough side to play against.

They won at Thomond Park and will have little fear of taking the points in Cork. "We are treating it as a cup final," centre Matt Scott said.

"Losing is not an option. Maybe mathematically we might be okay, but we have to go in looking to win. It's a tough place to win but the guys have done that once or twice over the years, so we know we can do it.

"They are in the same boat as us. For a club like Munster, with their heritage, not to be in the top European competition means they will be more than up for it as well."

O'Donnell is hoping that the cosier confines of the packed Cork venue will aid Munster's cause.


"Musgrave is a great pitch and it allows a great brand of rugby to be played," he said. "With the new stands and shed, it allows for a great atmosphere and you can feel it coming out to the field.

"It's just built for a good atmosphere if the crowd can come out and get behind us, then if we can do our job, do what's needed, whatever it takes; take penalties when they're on, score tries when they come, whatever it's needed.

"Fans respect that when they see you do what's needed, that you've done whatever it takes.

"Home advantage is still pretty big. You saw with Connacht how the crowd started to help them when they started rolling,

"So hopefully if we're at a stage where we get rolling, the crowd can get behind us and be able to give the same kind of voice."

Irish Independent

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