Munster head coach, Johann van Graan, has defended the form of his players involved in Ireland’s Six Nations campaign as they prepare to return to the provincial camp.
The performances of many Munster players including Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony were criticised through the disappointing campaign, especially during last week’s loss to Wales in the Principality Stadium.
The Irish contingent have little time to lick their wounds as Munster’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final clash with Edinburgh is fast approaching. However, van Graan is confident that his players will be ready for such a major fixture.
“Obviously, it’s a big disappointment from their side to go down on Saturday like they did but it’s all about the environment here that they can come back to. The guys coming back are very important players in our system.
“The amazing thing about rugby is you’ve always got next week. A lot of those guys will only play again in the quarter-final and what a great opportunity for them to get back on the horse.”
Munster have one PRO14 game left to play before that crucial clash at BT Murrayfield on March 30 and following a two-week break, the coaching staff will be keen to use the game against Zebre on Saturday evening to judge where their squad is at.
Their Irish contingent are unlikely to be involved with some taking a break following the grueling Six Nations schedule. The Munster head coach insists that the province will do everything in their power to ensure that those players are raring to go come Saturday week.
“Players go through ebbs and flows during the season and during their careers. The most important thing that I can control is what they do when they are with Munster. We’ll sit down with all the Irish guys and get a full debrief as to where they’re at.
“We need to make sure that they’re ready to go and they’re comfortable going straight back into our team. I think the thing about rugby players is you’re only as good as your last game. Sometimes you’ve got really disappointment and you change that aura within one half of rugby and that will be the challenge from our side.”