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O'Mahony: 'We're not going to fall in love with ourselves'

The Munster captain refused to get carried away by his team’s attacking edge against Perpignan.

Peter O'Mahony gets to grips with Watisoni Votu of Perpignan yesterday.
Peter O'Mahony gets to grips with Watisoni Votu of Perpignan yesterday.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

FIVE TRIES, ONE conceded and back to the top of Pool 6 of the Heineken Cup.

You could forgive Munster for being content with their display in beating Perpignan 36-8 at Thomond Park yesterday, but captain Peter O’Mahony insists there is plenty of room for improvement ahead of Saturday’s return leg.

The scoreline wasn’t fully reflective of the manner in which the French visitors threatened Munster’s try-line on occasion. Decisively, Marc Delpoux’s side failed to convert their chances into scores in the manner the home side did. O’Mahony said he wasn’t surprised at Perpignan’s competitiveness.

It was nothing we didn’t expect; it was a very physical encounter. We expected nothing else. This is only half time, we’ve to take a good look at ourselves in defence. We weren’t very happy with that, and some of our set piece wasn’t great.

“[We're] very happy with scrum, but we’ve to take a good look at our line-out and defence during the week.”

While there were certainly positives to take from yesterday’s bonus point victory, O’Mahony is certain that his team will need to be better at the Stade Aimé Giral.

“I think our work rate was very good. Our passion and intensity in the first half were very good; there’s plenty of positives to take out of it. As I said, it’s only half time and we’re certainly not going to fall in love with ourselves. We’ve a big task now next week in getting a job done.”

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O’Mahony was calm after Munster’s excellent win at Thomond Park. ©INPHO/James Crombie.

The return leg of this double-header will be an altogether different tale, particularly given the fact that Perpignan have such a poor record away from home. O’Mahony is aware that the Catalans are an altered proposition on home soil and says that is an exciting prospect.

“That’s what’s so special about the Heineken Cup, these trips away and how vital it is points-wise. I’ve stated it already; after our Edinburgh loss, it’s cup rugby for us and we’re going to treat it exactly like that. I think we need a win next week, so we’re going to have to up our intensity big time for France.

We’d love to have three [wins] out of three, but we don’t. As I said, it’s cup rugby from now on. That’s the way it is.”

Perpignan will be boosted by the returns of several players, none more notable than former Munster centre Lifeimi Mafi, who was absent yesterday. The 31-year-old will be available again after suspension for a dangerous tackle against Gloucester, and O’Mahony is aware of the edge he brings to the USAP midfield.

“Mafs will be back next week from his ban, he’ll be a great addition for them. We know him a little bit, but he’s certainly extremely hard to defend and he’s a big hitter. He’ll be a good addition if he does come in.”

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