These Johann Van Graan Comments Will Breathe Fire Into Munster Fans
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“Rugby games are won in the hearts of men,”
Head coach Johann van Graan believes Munster can achieve a minor miracle and defeat Toulon in their Champions Cup quarter final this weekend, despite being without a number of key players.
Munster will definitely be without the likes of Tommy O’Donnell, Chris Cloete, Keith Earls, Jaco Taute, Chris Farrell and Tyler Bleyendall. While Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway and Rory Scannell are doubtful.
But van Graan believes Munster can still emerge victorious this weekend by playing “the Munster way.”
“Rugby games are won in the hearts of men,” van Graan said.
“We back the people of Munster to pull us through. I get goosebumps when I say things like this but sport is about doing the unthinkable, go to where other teams aren’t prepared to go.”
“When you see things like this,” he added in reference to Toulon’s 49-0 demolition of Clermont.
“… you really do respect the opposition because you know they might take you apart. But rugby games are 50-50 occasions, it’s the same for both teams, it’s all about 80 minutes.
“You want to go to war with warriors. I saw warriors this morning [at training] and everyone is ready to go.”
When asked just how important the Thomond Park factor could be, van Graan said:
“Maybe the best way I can say it is [that] the opportunity of a lifetime lasts as long as the lifetime of the opportunity. We’ve got 80 minutes of rugby. At the end of the day it’s a rugby game at home. Even the small crowd that came out on Saturday at Thomond Park, they made a lot of noise. That’s why you work for home-ground advantage. Four teams worked exceptionally hard to get home quarter-finals and we’re one of them.”
“You’ve earned it but at the end of the day it’s an all-new competition now. It’s a once-off, 80 minutes and we’ll use the home crowd but we’ve got to play well as well. We’ve got to be smart, we’ve got to execute, we’ve got to be physical and we’ve got to win big moments. Hopefully when that ball goes up into the air one or two moments will go our way and hopefully we can get some momentum and play some good rugby.”