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Munster Regroup Following European Exit

Munster Regroup Following European Exit

Following a rest day, the Munster squad will regroup tomorrow in preparation for next Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 fixture away to Edinburgh.

Conor Murray and James Downey were the only Munster players to require treatment in the aftermath of a physical and bruising Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon yesterday.

Downey and Murray both received stitches to the face, the scrum half’s injury being the consequence the connection Juan Fernandez Lobbe made during a first half incident which saw the Toulon flanker sin-binned.

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All players will undergo full reviews from the Munster medical staff once they return to their training centres tomorrow morning in a week which sees a quick turnaround between matches.

Having arrived back from Marseille late last night the Munster squad will fly to Edinburgh on Friday in time for Saturday evening’s PRO12 encounter in Meggetland.

Captain against Toulon, Damien Varley yesterday answered questions about the province’s decision to kick for the corner rather than go for the posts to make it a two-point game with eight minutes to go.

“It was a collective decision. We felt that we were really on top, our set piece didn’t get going as much as we wanted in the first half and we felt that we’d get a maul together and walk them over,” said the hooker.

“Any time we got a maul before, they were giving away penalties and we felt we could walk them over. We back the decision 100% but again it was a case of unforced errors.”

Varley was impressed with the physicality Munster brought to the game, adding: “I think we probably expected a little more physicality from them. We stopped a lot of their poaching abilities, we stopped (Steffon) Armitage and (Mathieu) Bastareaud). 90% of the time we were very clinical at the breakdown.

“I certainly felt we were physically on top but it wasn’t our physicality that lost it, it was our handling and our unforced errors and certainly our discipline in the first half.”

Yesterday’s 24-16 loss was head coach Rob Penney’s final Heineken Cup match in charge of Munster and he believes this squad will return to the knockout stages again.

“The two experiences I’ve had at semi-final time, I’ve left (feeling) hollow,” explained the New Zealander.

“Both occasions I believe we could have won and I suppose it’s just as the squad matures a bit…I don’t think there was a belief issue today. Last year (against Clermont Auvergne) it was a little bit of a belief issue, but this year I don’t believe so.

“I thought we didn’t get a couple of early decisions, momentum swung and we’re chasing our tail a little bit all the way through. And on top of that were the unforced errors we were making. It just wasn’t to be.

“The learnings from that are we’ve just got to be more patient and build pressure, because we’ve shown time and time again that this team’s very capable and it will grow and it will learn and it will be here again.”