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Munster display delights McGahan

Guinness PRO12 Editor

18 Oct 2010

Munster head coach Tony McGahan wore the broadest of smiles at his post-match press conference following a truly stunning win over Toulon.

The Australian was clearly a happy man, and he had every right to be.

McGahan had just had the pleasure of watching his side destroy one of Europe’s most-talked about teams in simply sensational style.

Toulon arrived in Limerick on the back of an opening-round Heineken Cup win over the Ospreys but they were put to the sword at Thomond Park.

The Magners League leaders cruised to a 45-18 bonus-point win and McGahan was understandably delighted.

“It was a very solid performance from us,” said an understated McGahan, who side won their opening four Magners League games before defeat to Leinster in Round 5.

“You’re always vulnerable when you lose games but we certainly recognised where we’d been for the previous six games. We’d played the majority of those games away from home and have only had two games at home.

“We’d been building slowly to get a performance like that – we were good enough to put it together against Toulon.

“The biggest thing we had going for us was the pressure that we applied. We applied that very well through field position, through the set piece and I thought our defence was very good.

“More importantly, we controlled the ball and that gave us a great platform to play, particularly with where the game is at the moment.”

Munster went into Saturday’s encounter knowing anything less than a win would leave them with a mountain to climb in order to make the knockout stages of the European competition.

Defeat to London Irish had been tempered by the manner in which they picked a losing bonus point in the last minute at the Madejski Stadium but they still knew only a win would do against last season’s Amlin Challenge Cup finalists.

Throw in a narrow Magners League reverse at the hands of their bitter rivals a week earlier and Munster knew they had to make amends.

“In both games against Leinster and London Irish we had patches of pressure but we really put that together and played for longer stretches of the game against Toulon. We finished off our points as well which we hadn’t been doing,” added McGahan.

“We’ve had sustained bouts of pressure but we’d left with no points, which lets the opposition off the hook. That’s what we’ve done in the last two weeks…but there was an opportunity here and we took it.

“We certainly recognised that, with the tightness of the group, if we’d have lost today, it wouldn’t have put us completely out of the picture but things certainly would have been out of our control.

“This result means that we can control things at this point in time. That’s what you want at the end of Round 2.

“We’re happy with where we are but we recognise that the Ospreys back-to-back in December, with their performance on Friday night, is going to be a very difficult task.”