Sean McMahon reports from Thomond Park.
“I said well done!”
The words of Johann van Graan when asked what he said to match winner, Rory Scannell, after Munster’s 25-24 win over the Glasgow Warriors at a bitterly cold Thomond Park on Saturday evening.
Scannell knocked over a 55m metre penalty with the clock in the red to secure a valuable win for the southern province in a game which they had looked to have lost.
“We actually had a chat with all the kickers during the week about the distance and having a match-winning moment,” Johann van Graan said after the game.
“Had a bit of a joke with Rory [Scannell] a few days ago, he put a few long ones in, so I said ‘listen, the time is going to come for one’ and it came sooner than we thought.
“I’ve never been a kicker but I think as a kicker you want those type of kicks. They made the call on the field and what a brilliant kick to win the game.”
With Scannell undoubtedly disappointed this week due to his omission from Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad, it was certainly a good moment for the Cork man but Van Graan stressed that it was a moment to be enjoyed by the whole squad, too.
“It’s a great moment for him, but more for the team. I don’t know if you guys saw the reaction of the rest of the squad. We’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks to get positive results and we knew we came up against a championship side tonight, and it took 80 minutes to beat them by that kick. Great effort by the lads.”
With the difficulty of the kick apparent for all to see in the stadium, many believed Munster would have went for the corner to attempt to eke out a try but Van Graan believes that if a kick is on, then it’s on and this philosophy is shared with his captain Peter O’Mahony.
“We had a bit of a discussion in the coaching box but Pete [O’Mahony] and I are very aligned to what we want to do and in those moments in battle, you trust your leadership group and captain.
“I knew if one of the kickers wanted it they’ll take it. Obviously, Rory wanted to kick and knew he’d have the distance and then you back the call and for us luckily he hit it.”
Munster will now focus on bringing their squad to South Africa for next weekend’s clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.