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Johann van Graan responds to Leinster’s ‘box kick’ dig ahead of derby

van Graan

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Munster head coach Johann van Graan has taken aim at Leinster ahead of their inter-provincial derby clash at Thomond Park on Saturday.

The rivals will meet in a rearranged fixture that was originally in December, and the Munster boss has thrown the first grenade ahead of the highly-anticipated clash.

The teams served up a dour affair at the Aviva Stadium when the pair last met in September, with the Blues grinding out a 13-3 win.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen laid the blame for the low-scoring game at the feet of Munster, saying “You’ve got to be very accurate against a team when all they want to do is box kick and apply that pressure game.”

The Munster boss was reminded of those comments at a press conference today, with van Graan suggesting that Leinster are well capable of employing negative tactics themselves.

“I think you take every game and you do what’s necessary to win.

“I’m glad that in the Ulster game two weeks ago, at least they used some of our tactics in that game as well, so that’s brilliant to see,” van Graan told the Irish Mirror.

‘Munster-Leinster games are always special.’

The South African coach was also complimentary of the reigning Pro14 champions while noting the weather conditions might force another forwards-oriented game between the two.

“Look, it’s another game in our season. We have played nine games in the PRO14 and won eight, and so have Leinster. They are definitely one of the form sides of the competition of the last three years.

Munster

“They have played 11 games across all competitions this season and have 11 bonus points, so they are such a quality outfit. We know it and they know it.

“We had some convincing victories, we had some come-from-behind victories, we had to grind out some victories. Munster-Leinster games are always special.

“I’m not a weather expert, but it looks like it could be rainy and cold and snowy on Saturday evening. So, that will definitely play its part.

Van Graan also said he was looking forward to the match. The derby will also double up as a trial match of sorts for the Irish Six Nations squad, with Andy Farrell’s side set to get their campaign underway against Wales on the 7th of February.

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