Munster v Ospreys
It is fair to say that when the Munster squad gathered in Mitchelstown on Wednesday to review last weekend’s defeat in Treviso, it was not a nice afternoon in front of the telly.
Damien Varley (pictured) played the last seven minutes of the 34-10 debacle at the Stadio di Monigo having replaced match-day captain Mike Sherry at hooker, but no one was spared the dressing down administered by head coach Rob Penney.
Varley, like the rest of the Munster playing staff, accepted Penney’s self-described “blow torch” treatment as a suitable reward and will be looking to get a chance to atone for two RaboDirect Pro12 defeats in succession against the Ospreys at Thomond Park tomorrow night.
“It’s tough looking back on that,” Varley admitted. “It’s been a few hard days, probably a lot of soul searching going on, a lot of questions being asked of each other and what else can you say it was an abysmal performance and an extremely disappointing one.
“We always say we have extremely high standards in Munster and we certainly didn’t show that in any way last week, or the week before that as well.
“Emotions were probably high after the game and we didn’t leave until Monday afternoon so there was probably a lot of questions being asked. What can you say? You look at it, you try and evaluate it and see where things went wrong for us and eventually you have to turn your back on it and move on. We have a huge game against Ospreys this week. They’re ahead of us in the table and it’s cup rugby from now on so we can’t spend too long dwelling on the mistakes of the last few weeks. We’re not out of anything so we have a lot of fighting to do and a lot of work to do.”
Varley spoke of the team’s feelings of collective shame after an error-strewn performance which saw the Italian side run in five tries and Munster fail to improve their bid for a top-four finish in the league which will secure progress to the RaboDirect Pro12 semi-finals. Currently lying in sixth, six points off the play-offs with six games to play, there clearly are areas to improve on if the province is to reach the semis for a sixth consecutive season.
“You have to acknowledge what we did wrong, which was a lot, and you try and learn from it and push each other to a higher standard again, which is what we’re going to try and do,” Varley said.
“I suppose the reality is there are very few positives can be taken out of it. There were one or two areas but overall it was an abysmal performance and that’s calling a spade a spade. As a squad we’re extremely embarrassed by the performance and we’re looking to set it right over the coming weeks so from that point of, we’ve watched it, we’ve reviewed it, we’ve questioned each other, we’ve questioned ourselves and it’s time to move on.
“We’re done and dusted reviewing Treviso, [now] we really start focusing on Ospreys and trying to beat them. I think [qualification’s] in our own hands at this stage. We’re in a vulnerable place so to speak in the RaboDirect but it’s completely in our own hands to get a top four place over the number of weeks that are left and I think we will do it.”
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