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Johann Graan is looking forward to a Champions Cup thriller

By Aidan Corr
JOHANN Graan met the media this morning at the excellent Munster Rugby facilities in the University of Limerick complex. A soft-spoken, courteous 38-year-old, the new coach fielded questions with ease and emphasised the importance of this Saturday’s European Champions Cup game at Thomond Park to both sides.
Firstly, what did he think of his side’s performance against the Ospreys? “After looking at the game again, there are a few areas which we will have to improve on. We need to improve our discipline. For the first 60 minutes we conceded only three penalties, which was very good and then we had a period when we conceded a few on the line, but generally we are very happy with the bonus point victory.”
Asked about the injury situation, Johann replied: “We have a few injuries now in the front row with Niall Scannell out and the injuries to Liam O’Connor and James Cronin but Rhys (Marshall) was fantastic on Saturday and we will have the international guys back for the Leicester game. Simon (Zebo) was back training this morning, all smiles, as usual. He has a fantastic influence on the team and he should be back for Saturday.
“The injury to Liam O’Connor looks serious. He is in hospital and I spoke with him last night and he is going for further scans and we will know more about the injury soon.”
Rassie Erasmus invited his successor to Limerick to experience Thomond Park for the last Champions Cup game there in October: “I was here for the Racing game so I know what to expect. To be part of a team playing a European game it will be a first for me, so I am looking forward to it very much. This is not about me, it is about Munster and we will be building up to the game day by day. One thing is certain, it will be a brilliant game of rugby.
“Leicester have threats all around the park with Ben Youngs at scrum-half and George Ford who has a very good kicking game. They will be hurting after losing their last two games in the Aviva Premiership, but they are a quality team with a quality coach but this game is about two hugely successful teams taking on each other in a very closely contested pool.”

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