Rob Penney relishing the challenge of taking on Toulon
‘We’re going to have to play the best game we’ve ever played’ says Munster’s head coach.
Munster coach Rob Penney: “Some individuals are going to have to go beyond where they have been before but that is the challenge for us as a management group.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
As preludes to what Rob Penney admitted is about the most daunting challenge European club rugby can throw up, it couldn’t have gone much better. After the comedown from the high of thrashing to Toulouse to their spluttering defeat to Glasgow, Munster rediscovered winning ways in the Sportsground on Saturday and turned their attentions to beating Toulon in the Stade Velodrome in Marseilles next Saturday in brighter and healthier spirits.
“This is an exciting part of your life, they don’t get any better than preparing to play a great side like that,” said Rob Penney with palpable excitement in his voice even in the immediate aftermath of their entertaining 32-20 win over Connacht, albeit that they will have to produce as good a performance as Munster have ever done in their rich Heineken Cup history.
“We’re going to have to play the best game we’ve ever played. Some individuals are going to have to go beyond where they have been before but that is the challenge for us as a management group, to try and get the group in a frame of mind that they are prepared to do that . . .
“Going to Clermont last year was really exciting but this playing Toulon is probably a bit special for me as a coach. I know the other guys, Ian Costello, Anthony Foley and Simon (Mannix) think the same and there is a little bit of history between Toulon and Munster in this competition so we will be trying to uncover every little avenue to tap into those little motivational and inspirational moments to see if we can pull out a magic performance.”
Penney, who said that Casey Laulala should be fine, was happy with Saturday’s work-out.
“Those that needed a bit more footy got that. Those who needed a rest have got that and we couldn’t have asked for a better performance or a better outcome given the distractions of next week. No injuries, five points, pretty pleased.”
Admittedly, Toulon had ideal preparation with their 46-31 win away to Perpignan at the Barcelona Olympic Stadium, where Mannix was amongst the 25,000 crowd. But Penney maintained Munster were “miles ahead” of where they were when losing by six points away to Clermont in the semis last year.