‘It’s all about the people on the inside’ – Johann van Graan

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Munster head coach Johann van Graan believes the criticism he and his side have received is “understandable” but refuses to let pressure distract his team.

Van Graan’s announcement that he will be leaving the province and taking over Premiership side Bath from next season invited much scrutiny, only to be made worse by a disappointing defeat to Connacht last week.

The poor performance saw Munster legend Peter Stringer, amongst others, question the South African’s commitment to the team with some suggesting Van Graan should be relieved of his role before the end of the season.

Internal focus

However, an impressive 18-13 win over Ulster, having played the majority of the game a man down, proved the 41-year-old is not finished with Munster and has the support of his players.

“It is all about the people on the inside (of the camp),” Van Graan told reporters.

“It is professional sport. There will always be noise but luckily we have a very good leadership group and a very good coaching team.

“I can understand when people get carried away or when people make statements and that is part and parcel of professional rugby.

“All we can do is focus on our process and inside the HPC we are all pretty calm and pretty composed. It was a normal week for us.

“I think we were better compared to last week. It came down to using opportunities, and I think we did that better. We took our points. We stayed in the game in a pretty tight Irish derby.”

Munster will be looking to build on their Irish derby win when they travel to Castres for a Champions Cup encounter. The quick turnaround will be boosted by the return of Conor Murray, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway, amongst others.

After obtaining an “odd” abdominal injury in training last week, Damian de Allende’s fitness is still in question.

“A stomach muscle, so hopefully he will recover and be available. We won’t know until early next week,” Van Graan added.

“We have got to make sure we recover first. We have literally got Monday and Tuesday and then we are off to France. We have a few guys who will hopefully come back in the next few days.

“This was a pretty physical encounter so we will take stock. We won’t get carried away.

“The last time we played Castres away we lost 13-12. The way they came back against other teams in the last two weeks means it is clear they will be a handful over there.

“We will look at the game in isolation, prepare well, and hopefully deliver a good performance.”

The article ‘It’s all about the people on the inside’ – Johann van Graan appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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