Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: -2°C
James Crombie/INPHO
# Relief
'There has been no panic - we have continued to work hard and hard work pays off'
Munster coach Graham Rowntree is hoping they can build on the momentum of tonight’s win over Connacht.

GRAHAM ROWNTREE HAILED his team’s game intelligence this evening after they fought their way back from a 10-5 deficit to beat Connacht with a bonus point victory in Limerick.

This was just Munster’s third win out of eight in the URC this season and lifts them to eighth in the table.

“We were smart with the ball,” said Rowntree afterwards. “Our kicking game was smart, our maul and maul defence was good. Our discipline is still a work-on.

“We are still giving teams access to our 22. I was pleased with the win. It wasn’t perfect by any means, I said that to the lads afterwards. They’re a good team but compared to our performance down in Galway last month, we were a lot better.

“There has been a lot of development since that game. We’re still learning. We’ve had more training time with the coaches, a bit more of a settled squad. We had a lot of moving parts last month with unavailability. We just kept hammering at what we have been doing well in training.

“There’s been no panic. Things have not gone our way but you control what you can every day. I’ve seen the body of work we’ve been doing. Hard work tends to pay off and we’ve worked hard. More training time, more work with the coaches, more of a settled squad. Hopefully we are going to turn the corner.”

It looks as if they are for this was a good win against a decent Connacht team.

There were injuries, though. Peter O’Mahony took a bang to the nose; Mike Haley had to leave the field with a HIA. On the plus side, Keith Earls is back in contention for selection and may even feature against Edinburgh this Friday. Rowntree also said Fineen Wycherley was nearing a return.

Connacht coach, Andy Friend, was annoyed by some of the refereeing decisions which went against his team. “All we want as coaches is consistency,” said Friend without going into specifics.

He did elaborate, though, to explain how the result went against his side.

“We were our own worst enemies in some of those penalties that we gave away. So we definitely didn’t help our cause and that’s the stuff that we’ve got to control. We’ve got to be better at not giving those pictures and not giving referees reasons to make those decisions. So we’ll cop that on the chin.”

Where else did you lose the game tonight?

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 “I think in some of our decision-making. Some of our execution and decision-making at key moments just let us down, and their maul attack was very good there tonight. They scored a couple of tries through that, and that hurt us.

 “That’s been an area where I think we’ve been good this year but yeah, we got punched in the face there tonight.”

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