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Leaders happy but still not totally satisfied

Guinness PRO12 Editor

5 Jan 2011

Munster head coach Tony McGahan says he is happy with his side’s current league position but still not satisfied with their form.

McGahan’s men opened up a nine-point lead at the top of the Magners League table with victory over Ulster on New Year’s Day.

That bonus-point triumph at Thomond Park was the Red Army’s 10th win in 12 Magners League games this term, with their only defeats coming against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium and against the Dragons at Rodney Parade.

But while McGahan is delighted to see Munster on target for a home semi-final in the end-of-season Play-Offs, he admits his side still have plenty of room for improvement.

“We’re happy with our position in the Magners League, though we’d like to be playing better,” McGahan told the Irish Times.

“But through the Christmas period and playing local derbies, and 21 changes over the two games, 13 and eight to the starting side, you’re going to lose continuity in your play.

“That’s the nature of it, and that’s where things are at with Munster.”

While Munster have been surging ahead in the Magners League standings, injuries and a lack of solidity at scrum time have been McGahan’s biggest areas of concern.

The 2009 Magners League Champions have been without the likes of skipper Paul O’Connell, Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty and Dave Ryan for large parts of the season, while Ireland hooker Jerry Flannerry suffered another injury setback during the closing stages of his return to action against Ulster.

McGahan sees no point in bemoaning his bad luck, however, instead choosing to focus on getting on with the job in hand.

He admits that this weekend’s clash with Glasgow in Cork is likely to see a number of key figures return following a period of rest and he is keen to see his pack improve at the setpiece ahead of a daunting European trip to Toulon a week on Sunday.

“We have reached a period with those players that they’ve been out for such a long time that I think everyone has just moved on,” added McGahn when discussing the lengthy absences of both O’Connell and Flannery.

“For us playing away from home in a big environment (in Toulon) you’d certainly want to be putting some things together (against Glasgow).

“There may be some more changes to the group, with a lot of players coming back in, but we’d want to be displaying some strong characteristics of form that you’d want to be taking in to next week.

“There’s no hiding from the fact that we need to front up and give ourselves a platform to play off, because there are other parts of our game that are working okay, so we need to get that right first off.”