Van Graan targets improvement in set piece as Munster look to bounce back against Ospreys

Munster Head Coach Johann van Graan says that his side have put a big focus on the set piece area ahead of Friday’s Guinness Pro14 game with the Ospreys at Irish Independent Park.

Errors at crucial stages in both halves cost Munster dearly in Scotstaun and van Graan says that it was an area that must be improved.

“The most disappointing thing for our side was the set piece. We were put under pressure in the scrums. Decisions went against us. They kicked into the ’22.

“Then you need to defend multiple mauls and they are very dangerous off mauls. 15-0 would have been a reflection (at half time) but unfortunately that error by JJ (Hanrahan) put us under real pressure at 22-0 down.

“It was very calm at half time. We knew we could get back into the game. We forced the turnover off their kick off, got the three points. Got another penalty. Kicked it straight back in.

“The frustrating thing from my side is that we created as many opportunities, if not more than the opposition, in the second half but two lineout’s, five yards away (from the try line) went wrong. You must finish those.

“A set piece penalty is something you can’t defend. We will have to sort out our set piece. It’s a big focus point for us this week.”

There were plenty of talking points post the game with Glasgow, one of which that saw referee Ben Whitehouse to look at a potential clear out at a ruck close to the Munster line.

The TMO was unable to find footage of the incident, which could have seen a Glasgow player sin binned and Munster awarded a penalty. Van Graan explained that Munster looked for clarity on that incident, and others, with the Pro14’s Elite Referees Manager, Greg Garner.

“There were quite a few incidents in this game. We spoke to Greg, as we do every week. It’s important to keep that relationship going.

“He has done very well in communicating back to us and they have been very consistent. I think the only things that all coaches want is clarity and we got that regarding certain incidents.

“The TMO incident on Sammy (Arnold). The TMO couldn’t find it. I can’t do anything about that now but the communication has been constant.

“It’s very important for player welfare that we look at the right things and play within the spirit of the game. I think it was very well handled by Greg over the weekend.”

Munster welcome a rejuvenated Ospreys side to Cork on Friday that have added the likes of Welsh internationals George North and Scott Williams to their squad this season.

Van Graan pointed to the experience elsewhere in the Ospreys side as one of their core strengths and said that Munster will need to be at their best to see off the Welsh side.

“Look at the experience. Two locks (Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies) that have played a lot of Test matches.

“I have coached against Alun Wyn Jones for a long time when he was playing for Wales. He is world class and they have a pretty good pack.

“They win their ball, put you under pressure with the size of the centres and their wings. A quality side that do the simple things well.”

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