Brian Walsh expects Munster to click against London Irish as Pro12 looms

Munster assistant coach Brian Walsh hopes his charges will learn — and quickly — from the lessons of two successive pre-season defeats to Grenoble and Connacht.

In advance of Friday’s clash with London Irish at Musgrave Park (7pm), and a Guinness Pro12 opener against Treviso looming, Munster are desperately seeking a performance.

Walsh pointed to the importance of building through phases and performances, and he also craves victory.

“Obviously, you want to do well and win the games if you can. I suppose with the number of new additions and fellas back from injury, guys who haven’t played for a long time, it is important for us to get fellas through the first couple of matches, to build some level of confidence physically I would say as well as mentally.

“After two games, two defeats, I would expect us to be much more settled this weekend. With the Connacht game last Friday, we got off to a decent start but we never matched Connacht’s intensity throughout the game.

“Connacht had played Grenoble and had been over in Castres for a few days and played a good solid game there and I would think targeted our game for a big performance, which they got.”

Walsh is happy to see some big names return for Munster. “Absolutely. Getting Mike (Sherry) back on the pitch and getting through the period of game time he had without any repercussions is very much a positive. Gerhard (van den Heever) has gotten through the first couple of games as well. Davy O’Callaghan, as well, who had a bit of a layoff last season.

“I think there were eight or nine fellas who played their first game of rugby last weekend for different reasons.”

Walsh was impressed with Tyler Bleyendaal and Matt D’Arcy, effectively two newcomers to the Munster regime. In relation to Bleyendaal, he said: “He looked very accomplished. I thought he managed the game very well. He was only on for a 30-minute stint, but I felt it was a memorable 30 minutes for those who watched him (against Grenoble). That is great.

“I (also) thought Matt did very well in the Grenoble game. The big thing for a guy like that coming out of the AIL with a very young training age in professional rugby is how he handles the physicality and, that going forward is important.”

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