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Penney admits first half wasn’t up to scratch

Guinness PRO12 Editor

27 Oct 2012

Felix Jones may have strengthened his claims for an Ireland call-up and JJ Hanrahan may have announced himself on the senior stage but Munster head coach Rob Penney believes his side’s performance in the RaboDirect PRO12 win over Zebre was far from flawless.

An uninspiring first half saw the sides locked at 3-3 but after the break Munster’s class eventually told with 20-year-old Hanrahan marking his first start at centre with two tries in a 29-3 victory.

Jones, making his first start of the season following a shoulder injury, also crossed in the second half and with Leinster’s Rob Kearney sidelined, he will harbour hopes of getting the nod for Ireland’s autumn internationals.

He was not named in Declan Kidney’s squad but the Ireland head coach purposefully left room for an addition to his backline and Jones’ performance will not have gone unnoticed.

But Munster did not claim the bonus point until the 76th minute against a Zebre side which has just one point from their opening six matches – Luke O’Dea getting the all-important score.

And Penney admitted his side were sub-standard in the first half.

"I think we just lacked a bit of rhythm,” he said.

“I think some unusual decisions probably just made us stutter a bit. When we had opportunities to play we got a couple of calls that were a bit unique.

“And we didn't help ourselves. So a combination of those two things worked against us.”