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'We're getting closer and closer to scoring good tries' - Munster's Farrell

The southern province need to fire in attack as they face a huge challenge in Paris on Sunday.

LAST SEASON, CHRIS Farrell didn’t hold back in expressing his frustrations with Munster’s attack.

The Ireland international centre was honest in his assessment, stressing that the Munster attack “really needs to kick on and really needs a little bit of work because everything else is so good.”

Farrell’s belief was that Munster could get more from him, whether as a distributor or a decoy who would attract defenders worried about his ball-carrying power. 

chris-farrell Farrell believes Munster's attack is close to truly clicking this season. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“I think we can do it more than we are at the minute,” underlined Farrell in April last year, roughly a week before it was announced that Felix Jones would be leaving his role as the province’s attack coach, along with scrum specialist Jerry Flannery.

Stephen Larkham has since arrived as the province’s new senior coach, with the Australian’s role giving him full scope to run the Munster attack, whereas Jones had often been implementing head coach Johann van Graan’s systems and ideas.

There have certainly been signs of promise in the development of Munster’s attack this season but there have been frustrating days including their last two games against Leinster and Ulster, when Larkham’s charges failed to fire as they lost the gainline.

Munster need their attack to peak on Sunday in Paris for their must-win Heineken Champions Cup encounter with Racing 92, particularly given how the Top 14 outfit tend to score rather freely on their indoor 4G pitch at Paris La Défense Arena.

The return of Farrell to the starting team, along with CJ Stander and Dave Kilcoyne, should certainly help with winning collisions, which Munster hope will, in turn, allow their attack to fully flourish in this decisive European tie.

Munster are the joint-lowest try-scorers in the Champions Cup this season – although two games against the stingy Saracens defence partly explain that – and are joint-eighth in the Guinness Pro14 charts, but outside centre Farrell believes that the tries will soon start flowing.

“I think we have improved massively this season,” said Farrell this week when asked about Munster’s attack. “And I know, obviously, you could say last weekend [against Ulster] wasn’t great, the weekend before [against Leinster] was even less the greatest show on earth… but I think as a group collectively we are improving, are getting closer and closer to scoring good tries and less relying on kicking and less relying on all those things but, yeah, I do think we are improving massively.”

What’s better?

“Clarity and our 10s are… whenever I came back in from World Cup duty, JJ [Hanrahan] and these lads have stepped in and taken real control of things,” said Farrell.

chris-farrell-and-maxime-machenaud Farrell is a key part of the Munster attack. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“What’s improved is the variation of what we have. The forwards have taken more control of how we play in attack, their skillset has improved massively from last year.

“That’s one of the main things since we came back at the start of the season that I have seen.

“I think when we get a little bit of consistency throughout the season hopefully with our team… because we have used a massive number of players in the squad and things have changed and even over the last three weeks our team has changed so drastically that if we can get a little bit more consistency with that that we need, I think you will start to see those things a bit more.

“Obviously, that is going to be difficult going into the Six Nations. Because of the Six Nations, some are going to be away and some might not.

“But whenever we get to the business end of the season, I think we can get a little bit of consistency and get our best combinations out there week on week. I don’t think we have had that this season yet.”

The hope for Munster is that the business end of their season involves European competition. If they are to avoid a pool-stage exit, Larkham’s attack will need to be clinical this weekend.

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Murray Kinsella

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