Penney expected ‘more courage’ from players

MUNSTER head coach, Rob Penney believes some squad members ‘need to take a long, hard look at themselves’ following their weekend drubbing at the hands of Treviso in the RaboDirect PRO12.

MUNSTER head coach, Rob Penney believes some squad members ‘need to take a long, hard look at themselves’ following their weekend drubbing at the hands of Treviso in the RaboDirect PRO12.

Munster hopes of make the play-offs suffered a serious blow as a result of the province’s 24-point defeat to the Italian side. The loss cranks up the pressure on sixth-placed Munster ahead of this Saturday evening’s crucial home clash with the play-off chasing Ospreys at Thomond Park (6.30pm).

Munster are now six points off a top four place in the PRO12 after Rob Penney’s men suffered their seventh defeat of the campaign. A clearly disappointed Penney said the side had been ‘soft’ and ‘lacked courage’ in going down to Treviso on Sunday.

“We were soft, we lacked courage, Benetton ripped into us and got the deserved outcome,” Penney said after the game.

“Without taking away from them, that was definitely our most disappointing performance of the season. It’s going to be a test of mental fortitude and resilience now, and all the other words you throw out when the sun goes behind a big black cloud.

“We’re in a professional sporting environment and guys need to make sure they are in the right mental place to front up again. If they don’t, they won’t survive in the game.

“I expected our boys to show more courage and fortitude. Some players need to take a long hard look at themselves after that.”

New Zealander Penney said Munster would have to produce top class displays over the remaining six games of the regular season if the side is to reach the business end of the PRO12.

“We’re not out of it but it means we need to have some great performances from here on in, plus we are relying on other teams to succumb, which isn’t ideal,” Penney said.

Munster could well welcome back Irish out-half Ronan O’Gara for this weekend’s game as Ireland are not involved in RBS Six Nations action.

Flanker Niall Ronan may also be included in the squad for the Thomond Park clash after making a highly impressive comeback from injury in Shannon’s AIL Division 1A victory over Old Belvedere on Saturday.

Meanwhile, following the completion of the delayed B&I Cup fixtures at the weekend, it has been confirmed that Munster A will travel to play Cornish Pirates for the quarter final on the weekend of April 6-7.

Munster finished fifth place in the table, one point behind their next opposition, English Championship side, the Cornish Pirates.

The sides have met on two previous occasions with Pirates claiming the spoils each time, including the Championship title in 2010.