Wednesday 21 February 2018

Penney demands Reds stay focused to seal deal

Coach wary of Edinburgh but confident side can deliver

Munster's Billy Holland
Munster's Billy Holland

John Fallon

AN eventful Heineken Cup pool campaign can be brought to an highly successful conclusion on Sunday when Munster bid to nail down a home quarter-final spot.

But Rob Penney and his men are under no illusions against an Edinburgh side who left them with a mountain to climb in Pool 6 when they stunned them 29-23 at Murrayfield on the opening weekend of the competition.

That left no margin for error and it is testimony to the progress which Munster have made -- they are also top of the table in the Pro12 -- that they have qualified before the final game.

But with the Scots having the possibility of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup, Penney and his men will be taking nothing for granted.

They know they can't, given that Edinburgh have beaten each of the other teams in the pool with an impressive 16-10 win away to Gloucester being followed up last week by ousting Perpignan 27-16.

"Edinburgh deserve a lot of credit," said Penney. "They are a difficult side and they deserve a lot of credit for not only beating us but also going to defeat Gloucester and Perpignan."

Penney said he never doubted that his men would qualify following that shock opening-day loss, with a 26-10 win over Gloucester getting them back on track before the pre-Christmas home and away wins over Perpignan.

"I have a lot of faith in this group. We knew we had a lot of work to do and now we just want to deliver another good performance on Sunday," added Penney, who has now guided Munster into the knockout stages in both of his seasons in Ireland.

SUPPORT

Team captain Peter O'Mahony paid tribute to the huge support which was in Kingsholm last weekend and he hopes the side delivers a huge performance on Sunday to reward them.

"Our supporters were superb. They turn up each and every time, spending a lot of money in this day and age and they do it every time. We can't thank them enough," said O'Mahony.

Meanwhile, there are a small number of terrace tickets still available for the match but with almost 25,000 sold, it is likely to be a sell-out.

The remaining tickets for the North Terrace cost €30 for adults and €10 for juniors and are available from www.munsterrugby.ie or from the ticket offices at Thomond Park or Musgrave Park or by calling 0818 365 555.

Irish Independent

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