Although the 0-12 scoreline a week before Munster kick off their PRO14 campaign at home to the Cheetahs may cause some concern among supporters of the southern province, a quick glance of the two teams on Friday night will alleviate that somewhat.
Exeter Chiefs had close to a full-strength team out and as Johann van Graan revealed after the game, Rob Baxter’s men started nine players who played in the Premiership final just three months ago. Munster, on the other hand, continued with their plan of giving game time to as many players as possible and this contributed to the result, especially in the setpiece as Jean Kleyn admits “didn’t fire”.
“Yeah, look, our setpiece didn’t fire. We did have a lot of young players in there, a lot of new combinations that we were trying out, that being said, we had some old combinations as well and they didn’t fire at the end of the day as well, so yeah we’ll definitely have a review of our setpiece and see where we can improve on that,” Kleyn said after Friday night’s loss.
“We knew coming into it that Exeter have a quality pack, very strong, it’s now moving forward into the season, what are we going to do about it, you know?”
Munster reached the last four in both competitions last season and it was put to Kleyn whether this result was a wake-up call before the season begins next weekend.
“I don’t think the team needs to be brought back to earth. We’re quite well aware of our workons and stuff. We’ve had a lot of good takeaways out of this game, things we need to work on.
“I think our patience in attack is a big thing that we need to address, we’re throwing a lot of ball away, we had ample opportunities to score on their five-metre but we didn’t. We didn’t convert that so we’ll go back on Monday and have a good look at that.”
A result like that can often be a blessing in disguise so you can expect Munster to be hard at it on the training ground this week before they welcome the Cheetahs to Thomond Park on Saturday.