'I enjoyed the day and enjoyed the people of Munster but it was about getting the win'

Johann van Graan said his side will enjoy last night’s win over Leicester, but will return to work on Monday knowing they’ll need to make further improvements.

IN ARTIC CONDITIONS, a performance to take your mind of the numbing Limerick cold and the perfect start for Johann van Graan, who couldn’t have asked for much more from his opening weeks in the job.

[image alt="Peter O’Mahony celebrates scoring a try with Conor Murray and Alex Wootton" src="" width="630" height="420" credit-source="Inpho" caption="Conor%20Murray%20and%20Munster%20celebrate%20Peter%20O'Mahony's%20try.%20" class="aligncenter" /end]

Munster swatted all the off-field distractions to one side as they seized control of Pool 4 with an utterly dominant bonus-point victory over a beleaguered Leicester Tigers side for the second year running.

Not only did the southern province earn five points for their evening’s work, but denying Leicester a point for their efforts puts their old foes and Matt O’Connor under huge pressure ahead of the return leg next weekend.

For their part, Munster are building nicely.

It’s now 21 tries in their last four outings but it was a victory built on a tireless and accurate defensive effort as Munster’s aggressive line speed denied Ben Youngs and George Ford the time and space to let the Tigers settle.

Munster were dominant at the breakdown and set-piece, too, with Peter O’Mahony showing his true value with a colossal display while Chris Cloete, the diminutive openside, was relentless in his work around the trenches.

“Very happy with the win first and happy with the bonus point but a lot of areas where we can still improve,” van Graan said afterwards.

“I thought we started the game pretty well. I thought the guys responded well to what we did in the week and what we planned. We’ll enjoy the win and come back on Monday and start again at zero. It was by no means a perfect performance from our side.”

When asked about the influence of Andy Farrell on Munster’s defence, van Graan said: “Andy has been very good over the last two weeks with us and we did one or two different things but this is a total team effort, everybody involved puts their little pieces on the table and we make a decision in what way we are going to go in all areas.

[image alt="Johann van Graan" src="" width="630" height="422" credit-source="Inpho" caption="Van%20Graan%20was%20pleased%20with%20his%20side's%20defensive%20performance." class="aligncenter" /end]

“Once we make that decision, that’s why we train every week and hopefully we come out on Saturdays we give a good performance.”

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Overall, it was an ideal introduction for the South African to Champions Cup rugby on what was his first visit to Thomond Park in charge.

He added: “I was here a few weeks ago to soak up the atmosphere, today was all about the team and getting the result in Europe in a very tight pool. Racing and Castres game went down to the wire, we needed a win tonight.

“I enjoyed the day and enjoyed Munster and the people of Munster but what I possibly enjoyed most was the way our guys defended the line for the last five minutes of that game. We’re going to give nothing for free, happy with the win but another big game next Sunday.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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