Friday 17 August 2018

Van Graan - Derby return unacceptable

Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Munster coach Johann van Graan says his troops are chasing a positive result in tomorrow's inter-pro with Connacht at Thomond Park, but he also concedes that four losses to date in derbies this season is not acceptable.

After such a bright start to his tenure with big wins over Ospreys and Leicester Tigers twice, Van Graan got a first taste of disappointment as Munster coach with losses to Leinster and Ulster over Christmas.

And he has called for a reaction from his side against Kieran Keane's side and thinks the players' attitude means he will get it.

"Look, I wasn't here for the first two. It wasn't in our planning to lose these two games. We want to win every single game that we play in," said Van Graan.

"The players spoke very passionately about it this morning. It's not good enough for Munster to lose four games against other Irish provinces.

"That being said, two weeks ago, it all looked pretty rosy for Irish rugby with all four teams winning home and away in Europe."

But there was some solace to be taken from the fact that Munster slipped up against quality opponents, according to the new head coach.

But this weekend they face a Connacht side that inflicted a record defeat on Ulster recently, and pushed Leinster all the way at the RDS. It is a significant challenge, he says.

"The positive is that it is all against quality opposition. You just have to look at Connacht and the type of rugby that they are playing.

"We didn't play good rugby up there but we are actually playing some very good rugby now. The challenge is to put it together for 80 minutes.

"But yes, we do need a reaction on Saturday evening and we do need to get a positive result."

Irish Independent

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