Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
INPHO/Dan Sheridan Rob Penney was delighted with his side's will-to-win yesterday.
# munster magic
'It was just beautiful to watch' - Rob Penney on Munster's latest heroics
The Kiwi believes the win answers the province’s critics.

WHEN JJ HANRAHAN’S sweet sidestep in the 81st minute gave Munster the narrowest of victories over Perpignan last night, Rob Penney just couldn’t help but admire the determination shown by his side.

That the score came after Perpignan were awarded a controversial try just minutes beforehand made it all the sweeter for the New Zealander.

“Obviously we’d a scrum on defence which we didn’t defend that well, they ripped us up on the outside and we made a couple of little defensive errors. It was pretty clear there were a couple of forward passes in there that didn’t get referred and that would have been a pretty disappointing finish to what was a probably an average performance by us but courageous, always courageous.

“I’m just so proud of this young group and to come away from a set piece where we got a really poor launch – a couple of wobbly passes, a couple of dropped balls – and we’re probably thinking at that point that we’re not going to get a crack at maybe getting a five-pointer and then, all of a sudden, we got a bit of structure back and the subs came to the fore down that right-hand channel and it was just beautiful to watch.

“Denis [Hurley] having the confidence to offload to Tommy [O'Donnell], Tommy makes a definite impact in the game and offloads to JJ [Hanrahan] and JJ shows sweet feet to leave his defender grasping at fresh air and the rest is history.

“It’s another special Munster moment which is just wonderful for this group.”

In the end though, particularly after Benvenuti’s 78th minute try,  the win may have had more to do with the province’s belief they could win, rather than any expectation Penney had that they would.

“You never say never. The last few minutes were something that we were obviously desperate to do well in given the situation we had found ourselves in. You’re always hopeful that something would happen but, between the  lads in the high numbered jerseys, they conjured up a bit of magic.”

The result puts Munster on top of Pool 6 on 14 points with second-placed Gloucester hosting Edinburgh at Kingsholm today. Penney’s side will visit Gloucester in round five but the Kiwi believes they’ve put themselves in a strong position before the Christmas break.

“It’s a great place to be. We were criticised six or so weeks ago after Edinburgh and the boys took a bit of a lashing but they bounced back with three credible wins and we’ve still got so much left in the tank and the resolve and fortitude is special.

“Once we get our rugby right, we’ll be an interesting side to play against.”

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