Jump to main content


Penney Delighted With Players’ International Progress

Penney Delighted With Players’ International Progress

Munster head coach Rob Penney is hoping to reap some rewards from the strong displays put in some of the province’s latest Ireland internationals in recent weeks.

Donnacha Ryan, the GUINNESS Series man-of-the-match against Argentina, and the rest of Munster’s Ireland contingent returned to training with the province at the University of Limerick on Tuesday.

They will have been some extra pep in their step after the seven-try dismissal of the Pumas, and head coach Rob Penney was very pleased to see his players performing so well at international level.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

“I think it was exciting Donnacha Ryan had such a dominant performance in that last Test. I thought Peter O’Mahony really came on and had a big influence on the tough, robust aspects of that game,” said Penney, reflecting on the Argentina game.

“And out the back we were really happy with Conor Murray and Keith Earls playing so well. And when Simon Zebo (at full-back) gets an opportunity and comes through as well, it is wonderful for everyone involved.

“He has created another positional option for us. Every time they get put against world class opposition like that it is an opportunity, also for some of the younger blokes to grow…out of the fact they can play at that level.”

James Coughlan and Tommy O’Donnell both look set to return from injury on Saturday at some stage during Munster’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against third-placed Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park.

Coughlan has been sidelined since the derby against Ulster in September, with his place in the Munster starting line-up being filled since then by O’Mahony, Paddy Butler and on one occasion O’Donnell.

O’Donnell himself is also likely to be involved on Saturday night having limped out of the ‘A’ interprovincial game against Leinster a fortnight ago.

Ronan O’Gara, Zebo, Earls, David Kilcoyne, Donncha O’Callaghan and Ryan, who were all involved against Argentina, trained in UL yesterday suggesting they may all be involved at some stage against Glasgow.

Their international colleagues O’Mahony and Murray were in attendance but sat out the session, with the scrum half nursing what Penney termed, ‘a wee knee niggle’.

“Conor has had a lot of footie in the last three weeks. He has just had a little soreness in his knee and didn’t take part in any run-out, so it is likely he won’t play this weekend given the workload he already had,” he explained.

Penney also spoke about Paul O’Connell’s battle with a frustrating back injury, the recurrence of which has seen him sidelined since last month’s 33-0 league win over Edinburgh.

The former Munster captain’s seasonal debut was against Racing Metro 92 the previous week, having come back from a troublesome knee injury.

The talismanic lock has been ruled out of the Glasgow game and is said to be making ‘slow progress’ in his return to fitness. His availability for the back-to-back European encounters with Saracens is in considerable doubt.

“We haven’t even thought about Saracens yet. But miracles happen, he is beavering away,” said Penney.

“It is unpredictable to define, it’s the type of injury that could just linger and be a nuisance, and it is frustrating for everybody.”