MUNSTER COACH ROB PENNEY will put his flanker’s feet up today and watch his countrymen take on Ireland at Lansdowne Road. The Kiwi will have returned from a trip to Wales in good form.
Glasgow Warriors’ home defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons has seen Munster stretch their Pro12 lead. A 31-10 victory over Cardiff saw the Irish province in ruthless form and featured several positives.
Casey Laulala showed just what he is capable of when trusted to run the ball, and well supported, while Felix Jones was in excellent form; haring over for a first-half try and setting up Andrew Conway for the bonus point score. Young James Cronin scored his third league try of the season and Cathal Sheridan looked sharp behind a strong pack.
The performance of out-half JJ Hanrahan, however, should have pleased Penney most. The Kerry native was impressive as the key playmaker in the Munster backline. He possesses a wide passing range and is always looking for gaps in opposition defences.
The vision, awareness and pass to set up Cronin for his try was Hanrahan at his best and something the 21-year-old is now consistently displaying.
YouTube credit: RaboDirect PRO12
Hanrahan kicked 11 points and has now totted up 68 points in the league this season. His kicking stats are the best in the Pro12 [over 94%] and he has just missed once from 19 times at the kicking tee.
Ian Keatley was Penney’s starting out-half in the early rounds of the Heineken Cup and looked solid in the home win over Gloucester. Back-to-back games against Perpignan await and Munster’s out-halves face a final audition against Dragons before their coach makes his call. Hanrahan is pushing hard for a starting role and Penney will welcome the selection dilemma.
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