DAMIAN VARLEY insists Munster will put a mini-crisis behind them by defeating Ospreys at Thomond Park tonight and advancing to the Magners League final.
Varley believes recent criticism of the province is over the top and disagrees with claims the side are in decline.
He said: “Munster is not in crisis. It is not an ageing team. We have some excellent young players and have used 52 players during the Magners League this season. We have had a few bad days and days when players haven’t been focused but Munster is not in crisis, and we hope to prove that. “The loss to Harlequins (in the Amlin Cup semi final) was very upsetting. And it is extremely hurtful for supporters, especially in this economic climate, to be forking out money and witnessing a day when we never showed up.”
Varley promised there would be no lack of focus tonight. “We have seen what can happen to us when we don’t show up (mentally), so the strong focus this week is to prepare as much mentally as physically for the Ospreys.”
Varley is convinced the battle at scrum time could decide the outcome and believes the appointment of Nigel Owens as referee is welcomed by both front rows.
“It (refereeing front row play) is very technical but he (Owens) has a very good knowledge of the angles of the front rows and the ins and outs of the legalities, possibly more than some players. He is consistent with his calls and the sequence of them; he gives clear instructions before and during the game and it makes it easier for the players.
Munster’s coach Tony McGahan is convinced the outcome will hinge the outcome of set pieces — and referenced the problems at scrum time which cost his side dearly in the Heineken Cup defeat by Ospreys in Wales.
McGahan said: “We certainly let ourselves down there. We had a number of opportunities where we played some nice controlled rugby. Down at their try line we had a ten-phase effort and a fifteen-phase effort, and left with nothing. That was certainly disappointing. I don’t think there has been any doubt that their scrum has been on top in the games we have played. We have to turn that around.”
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