Munster head coach Tony McGahan believes the thrilling climax to the Magners League season is a ‘wonderful advertisement’ for the game.
The man hoping to ensure Munster become the first team to retain the Magners League trophy takes his side to Dublin this Saturday for a mouth-watering semi-final against current champions Leinster.
But while many would have predicted that both Irish giants would make the final four, the actual make up of this weekend’s semi-finals were nearly very different.
Munster only guaranteed their Play-Off place thanks to a final day bonus-point loss at the Blues, while Leinster were within minutes of slipping to third place in the standings and an away tie at Glasgow as they trailed Edinburgh late on in their own Round 18 encounter.
“To have the competition go down to the final 10 minutes in two games to decide outcomes and semi-finalists and decide where the final is going to be played is a wonderful advertisement,” said McGahan, whose team could still have missed out had Edinburgh clung on to victory and racked up a significant points tally in Dublin.
“I think it has been well documented the standard of players coming to the Magners League, the standard of sides in the Magners League, which have produced three semi-finalists last year and two semi-finalists this year and the Ospreys in the quarter-finals (of the Heineken Cup), are rising.”
By their own impeccably high standards, Munster have had an up and down season.
A 50 per-cent winning record in the Magners League included a brace of defeats to Saturday’s opponents and a home loss to the Ospreys and, while most other European teams would be delighted with a Heineken Cup semi-final appearance, Munster tend to view things a little differently.
McGahan is honest enough to admit that things haven’t always gone smoothly this term but the Australian knows that being crowned Magners League Champions once more would lead to a far more enjoyable summer.
“We haven’t really been able to gel everything together,” added McGahan.
“We’ve reached a semi-final in the Heineken Cup, we’re into a semi-final in the Magners League, and we’ve got a final with the A team at the weekend.
“Look, it’s been an okay season, but the real goal for us is to finish with silverware and we have to give ourselves every opportunity with 80 tough minutes on Saturday.”