Sky Sports pundits Alan Quinlan and Will Greenwood were adamant Munster will need a vast improvement when they travel to France next week and skipper Peter O’Mahony is in total agreement.
A 36-8 win that included five tries was probably enough for the fans at Thomond Park yesterday, but not for O’Mahony or coach Rob Penney, both of whom highlighted the need for better stuff in the return fixture.
O’Mahony was frank afterwards: “It’s better not to be thinking you’re better than you are. The performance wasn’t good enough and it will open our eyes to the areas we need to improve on. Even that try at the end, we’ll be very disappointed with because it was the last play and we let ourselves down a bit.”
Will that performance be good enough next week? “Probably not. I think we have to go up a little step in intensity certainly. They’ll have their crowd behind them. French teams are extremely tough at home, so we’ll have to be really on our game to get what we want.
“I haven’t played there, but it looks like a great place to play. The lads (who have been there) always speak very highly of the atmosphere so it’s a great place to go and play rugby. But it brings its own challenges and we’ll be looking hard at ourselves during the week.
“It could come down to having more control. I think at times we need to hold onto the ball. We were a bit loose at times in contact and that’s something we’ll have to have a look at. It’s good to have the home game out of the way and five points in the bag; anything else and we were probably in a bit of trouble so we’re happy out with that.”
He wasn’t happy with a malfunctioning lineout however. “Our lineout didn’t function well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. And I think some of our defending was average at times. I think we’ll have to have a good look during the week and come together as a pack and see can we improve that.”
Penney is looking for improvement too after admitting Munster’s display varied between nine down to four out of 10.
“At times it was right up there, but we’re still hamstrung to a degree. We get teams on the rack and then, all of a sudden, there’s a poor decision made. But we’re a lot better than we were 12 months ago, there’s improvement and I thought overall we were terrific.
“Without putting a number on it, I think components were maybe a nine and some were a four. That’s indicative of some of the things we’ve faced this year.
“Some of the sequences of plays we put together really put them under the pump and they were obvious to see.”
Perpignan promise a hot reception next week, with replacement out-half Tommy Allan likening the home stadium and fan base to Thomond Park and Munster.
“Very similar, great crowd, they get behind us every time we play there, it was great to play here in Thomond Park and witness the relationship between the fans and the team, but we’ve got the same thing in Perpignan and it will be a different experience for the Munster players I’m sure,” said Allan.
“We need to win to stay in the Heineken Cup.”
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