Monday 16 September 2019

Van Graan calls on players to step up

Munster coach Johann van Graan
Munster coach Johann van Graan

Declan Rooney

Munster coach Johann van Graan has called on his entire squad to make the most of their opportunities as the squad head into a key part of the season.

Last weekend ahead of the Zebre game, Munster made 12 changes to the team that defeated Castres in the Champions Cup, and after a sluggish start Munster impressed in a 33-5 win.

There were debuts handed to Gerbrandt Grobler and John Poland, while a number of players saw their first action since before Christmas.

Van Graan says his players have to impress and show they are ready for the step up to the first team.

"We've got big dreams for this team for this year and going forward.

"We said from day one this is a squad effort and in order for yourself to play in the big games you need to perform in, let's call it the smaller games.

"So this four weeks is all about improving as a side and about guys deserving their opportunities.

"We'll make quite a few changes again for this weekend, use our squad and we've got two Friday games coming up after this one, which will be a short turnaround, so we need our whole squad.

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"Guys will go up and down into the Irish squad and this is all preparation for the big games at the end of the season."

With many of his more experienced players on Ireland duty this month, Van Graan is likely to go with a similar policy this weekend in Cardiff, and he urged his players to seize their opportunity.

"You've also got to take into consideration injuries, sickness, guys moving up and down and then also performance on-field. Certain guys maybe have a blinder and then you've got to think again.

"So we've got a broad structure that we work from, but in terms of week to week, you've got to adapt and you've got to plan ahead."

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