Van Graan expecting a tough test from Ospreys

Welsh side are familiar opponents for Munster

Johann van Graan: “A lot of younger players are getting opportunities.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster v Ospreys, Thomond Park, Sunday, 2.45, live on Eir Sport and TG4)

Munster coach Johann van Graan expects a tough tussle having watched the Ospreys performance in defeat to Leinster last week. The Welsh side are familiar foes having been in Munster’s European pool last season.

He said: “They are under a new coach Toby [Booth], an experienced coach. I thought they played pretty well against Leinster. They started very well, went 7-0 up and [then] Leinster scored some very good tries; the second half was a one score game.”

The South African explained that he gave the players last weekend off when their game against Benetton was postponed. One aspect that has underpinned Munster’s unbeaten start to the season has been the performances of the younger players.


He explained: “The fruit of the last few years are paying off. As has been well documented, we brought our academy to train with our senior team last year during the World Cup (in 2019) and they have continued to train with us. A lot of younger players are getting opportunities and they are certainly using the opportunities right across the park, from 1 to 15.

“There have been some good team performances, a long way away from perfect but we would take that start to the season. We are looking to improve our attack right across the board. Some of our defence has been very good but we have leaked one or two tries from set pieces, against Cardiff a few games ago.

“We are changing the team week on week, we are giving guys opportunities and some guys will get opportunities over the next few weeks.”

Munster confirmed that John Hodnett will require Achilles tendon surgery, an unfortunate blow for the in-form 21 year old flanker.

The Munster and Ospreys teams will be announced on Saturday.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer