Munster Rugby Head Coach Johann van Graan gave his assessment post match of his side’s comprehensive 49-12 victory over 13-man Connacht in a 37-penalties game at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.
The South African admitted that their main goal of achieving a semi-final place had been achieved:
“We set out to qualify for the semi-final which we did and take the five league points. In the first 28 minutes, when we were equal numbers, we really played well. We played against a team high in confidence, so firstly, pretty happy with that semi-final spot.”
Van Graan was full of praise for Guinness Man of the Match and try-scorer Tadhg Beirne, who returned to action with the side today. It was like roulette on Gclub to see who would win the man of the match, Bundee Aki was superb.
“Tadhg really played well,” van Graan offered, before adding, “I felt it was a good performance from him and Fineen (Wycherley) and Billy (Holland) coming on to close out the game. That’s the good thing about a quality squad, you need a squad.”
The Munster boss made every effort to save some of his key players for Friday night’s semi-final by taking Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Tadhg Beirne, JJ Hanrahan, Peter O’Mahony and Damian de Allende off the pitch in the final 20 minutes.
Despite what van Graan describes as “the shortest turnaround that we’ve had in years,” he accepts the situation, stating:
“That’s just how the cards have been dealt to us, so we’ll get back to Limerick and Cork tonight, literally have one training session and we’re back here (in Dublin) on Thursday. It’s all about recovery, but that’s the challenge of sport and that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ll be back here on Friday evening against the champions in their back yard.”
Munster will play Leinster at the Aviva Stadium at 7.35pm on Friday night in the first of the Guinness Pro14 semi-finals.
Ulster travel to Edinburgh on Saturday in the second last-four game, with the final scheduled for Saturday, 12th September, at a venue yet to be confirmed.