Coach demands Munster reaction

MUNSTER coach Tony McGahan wants his side to bounce back from what he termed “one of the more disappointing results” of his tenure, when they meet Edinburgh in a must-win Magners League clash at Thomond Park tonight (7.50pm).

The league leaders return to base against the back drop of last week’s defeat at Treviso that McGahan described as “a very poor performance”.

“We had a good first 10 minutes and we finished the last 15 very strong but we needed to get our set-piece and breakdown work to a standard that will produce results. They were the two main factors last week.”

McGahan makes 11 changes from the team that played in Treviso and is boosted by the availability of Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer and Denis Leamy, who will captain the side.

Denis Fogarty and Marcus Horan return to the match-day squad and McGahan might well need to call on them at some stage, although he hopes not in adverse circumstances, based on Munster’s recent scrum problems.

A frustrated McGahan admitted that Munster appeared to be troubled on opposition put-ins. “There is a perceived weakness in that area and anything that happens means you’re probably going to be on the wrong side (of decisions); the only (solution) is hard work and technique and to make sure we scrummage for longer.”

Edinburgh, he said, pose a different challenge: “They’ve a different mindset from a lot of teams, they’re very solid in the set piece and have a back row that like to offload and run at the opposition, they’re not limited by the tight game, they have an ability to play at width and once they finish off accurately they can be a huge threat.”

Edinburgh interim head coach Nick Scrivener encouraged them to take a leaf from Munster’s book in terms of competitiveness in forward play.

“The way Munster play has changed slightly and there’s no doubt they’ve got a number of dangerous weapons in the backs, but the basics of their game are always at a very high level and we should take our lead from that.”

Scrivener has made four personnel changes James King replaces John Houston at inside centre. Up front, Scott MacLeod returns from Scotland service to the second row alongside Steven Turnbull. Ross Rennie returns at openside while Fraser McKenzie moves from lock to blind-side flanker.

MUNSTER: J Murphy; D Howlett, L Mafi, P Warwick, D Hurley, R O’Gara, P Stringer, W du Preez, D Varley, T Buckley; D Ryan, M O’Driscoll, D Leamy (capt), T O’Donnell, J Coughlan.

Replacements: D Fogarty, M Horan, S Archer, I Nagle, B Holland, D Williams, T Gleeson, S Zebo.

EDINBURGH: C Paterson, L Jones, B Cairns, J King, T Visser, D Blair, G Laidlaw (capt), K Traynor, A Kelly, G Cross, S MacLeod, S Turnbull, F McKenzie, N Talei, R Rennie.

Replacements: A Walker, L Niven, D Young, A MacDonald, R Grant, N De Luca, S Webster, J Thompson.

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