MUNSTER COACH ROB Penney said he was satisfied with the overall performance yesterday, but admitted his team need to be “more ruthless” in dispatching opponents in the future.
The Irish side beat Edinburgh 34-23 at Musgrave Park last night, though the intensity of their performance diminished towards the end of the game, allowing their Scottish opponents to gain the upperhand.
“They’re a capable side,” Penney told 96fm. “The last 20 minutes showed what they were capable of attack-wise.”
Yet despite such occasional lapses in concentration, the New Zealander said he was happy overall with what he had seen.
“Large components of the execution and decision-making were excellent. If they make good decisions, then often skill executions and outcomes are very positive. But we’ll keep working away and the players are adjusting [to the new season].”
He was also not happy with the officiating in the game, claiming he was continually bemused as to why his side were being penalised in the scrum.
“I don’t know why we were getting penalised. The scrum stayed up, we pushed them off the ball and yet we were getting penalised. Why would we want to get the scrum down? It was frustrating.
“For two scrums where we gave away penalties, and we [then] gave away another penalty which gave them access to a shot at goal. So it was probably six to nine points on the back of some penalties there, which we’ve got to work hard on to improving.”
He continued: “It’s going to take some time before the consistency of the rulings come in. The scrum’s gotta be square and stable before the ball goes in. From that moment on, it’s a contest.
“We haven’t had any problems until now. Hopefully [the lack of problems] will continue to be the case.”
Penney was quick to freshen up the team on a number of occasions in the game, however the coach insists he would never make such changes merely for the sake of it.
“The long-term strategic view is to create depth in all positions. And you can only do that by giving players game time. It’ll be time-dependent and situation-dependent. We have to feel that they’ll add value. But we have to show faith in them.”
And while there remains a few rough edges to this Munster side, overall, the New Zealander said he could have few complaints.
“I’m always looking for the perfect performance and you very rarely get it. In fact, I’ve probably never seen one.
“To come to Musgrave, which wasn’t a happy place for us at times last year, and put on a better-than-solid performance [is good]. But we still have areas to improve on, and that’s the exciting part.
“I thought both the 9s and the 10s led the team very well tonight, and that’s a big part of getting your game functioning.”
Meanwhile, out-half Ian Keatley echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying Munster’s constant attempts to “put the ball into space” proved effective, and explaining that the squad was currently in good health.
“There’s great competition throughout the squad, not just at 10. Even James Cronin made his first competitive start and played very well.
“Last season, the PRO12 got away from us. But that’s our bread and butter, we should be winning it week-in-week-out.
“That’s the work we’ve done in pre-season, but every week, we’re striving to get better.”