Johann van Graan confident of beating the kings in their castle

Munster coach believes his side can catch Leinster out in Pro14 semi-final at the RDS

Munster head coach Johann van Graan is confident his side can overturn Leinster in their Pro14 semi-final. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster head coach Johann van Graan is confident his side can overturn Leinster in their Pro14 semi-final. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Munster coach Johann van Graan believes his team can beat the new European Champions Leinster when they meet at the weekend in the semi-final of the Pro14.

Despite Leinster’s clean sweep through the pool and knockout stages without defeat, the South African is not daunted by his side’s visit to the RDS on Saturday, a ground in which Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony astonishingly has never played.

“We have a saying, ‘If you want to be king, you have got to go and beat the king in his castle,’” said van Graan at the Munster training base in Limerick.

“Leinster are the kings at this stage, so as I say this is a good opportunity to go an measure ourselves against the best.”

Van Graan is hopeful he will have a number of his players back for the game, although some are still in line to prove their fitness this week. One player that will not be in contention to play is Stephen Archer who has undergone surgery.

Following Munster’s win against Edinburgh in Thomond Park the medical department confirmed that Archer sustained a pectoral muscle injury and the tighthead prop required surgery last week, which rules him out of this weekend’s clash.

Niall Scannell (AC joint), John Ryan (back) and Brian Scott (ribs) will be on the field today so we can assess them further,” said the Munster coach.

Andrew Conway and Duncan Williams still have to be cleared after HIAs.

“Jaco Taute has taken part in some training but still needs to be assessed on the field. Chris Cloete is back on the field today so we will have a look at him. Apart from that, we are pretty good.

“I thought the guys did pretty well to get us through that semi-final qualifier so there won’t be that many changes,” he added.

“There are one or two decisions that still need to be made during the week, but we will make those as the week goes on.”

Van Graan did not watch the European final live, although he did watch it later. Acknowledging the game was not a spectacle he was impressed by the way Leinster stuck to the process of winning the match in the way they needed to win it.

“It was two very good teams, a tightly contested battle and Leinster came through it right at the end when they needed to,” said van Graan.

“They won a close game and that’s what championship teams do. I didn’t think it was the greatest ever game but that doesn’t matter at all. They won the game, they are champions and well done to them.”

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