Johann van Graan happy with first week of the season as he praises newer squad members

Munster Head Coach Johann van Graan was impressed with the newer and younger members of his squad in Saturday evening’s drubbing of the Toyota Cheetahs.

While stressing that it was only week one of the season, the South African had particular praise for Garryowen’s 25-year-old scrum half Neil Cronin who has taken well to professional rugby:

“To play like that for 65 minutes after being an amateur a few months ago and walking into a professional league, that was really good,” van Graan admitted.

He felt the final score might be a little misleading as the game was slightly poised at 12-0 just after half-time, but was very happy his side kept the visitors scoreless:

“We’ll take the five points. I was happy with the fact that we kept them to zero. I thought the score might be a bit misleading; take the 5 points, move on, opening day of the season.”

The importance of a competitive squad was mentioned by the Head Coach in the post-match press conference, stating:

“I want a competitive squad. I want to improve the squad. I backed guys I thought were good in training. There’s a lot of quality to come back and a lot of competition in the squad.”

On the summer signing of fullback Mike Haley from the Gallagher Premiership, the Munster boss explained:

“When we signed Mike Haley, we said we wanted multiple-decision makers onto the field and I thought that worked really well. We used our strike runners like Sammy Arnold and Dan Goggin, but also moved the attacking threat around.”

Van Graan continued:

“We also needed multiple nines – if you want a quicker game you need multiple nines and sometimes the 10s get caught up into that and I thought between Mike (Haley), JJ (Hanrahan), Rory (Scannell) and Joey (Carbery), we did that pretty well.”

Commenting on the fact that this is his first full season in charge of the squad, the South African offered:

“It is my first full season, there will be ebbs and flows, the task for us will be to be consistent. Happy with the first week. It’s back to zero on Monday.”

Munster travel to Glasgow Warriors for their Round 2 game in the Guinness Pro14 next Friday night, with live TV coverage on eir Sport.

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