United Rugby Championship: Malakai Fekitoa’s best soon to come for Munster

Dylan Coetzee
Munster's Malakai Fekitoa passes the ball during a warm-up.

Munster attack coach Mike Prendergast believes there is more to come from their new-signing Malakai Fekitoa.

The former All Black and current Tongan international is still settling in with the province having only just made the move from Premiership side Wasps at the end of last season.

Munster has stumbled out of the blocks this season, winning one game from three as the club adjusts to changes, including the arrival of coach Graham Rowntree and his coaching staff.

Settling in

However, Prendergast is convinced Fekitoa will show his worth once he has more time at the club and has settled into the new environment.

“He’s a fantastic player on his day and I’ve seen glimpses of it, absolutely I have, you see it at training and in some of the games,” said Prendergast to the 42.

“It’s just getting used to combinations which it has been over the last number of weeks, he’s still finding his feet.

“That takes a bit of time in terms of the move, the whole rugby side of things, new coaches, new players, but we definitely see aspects of his game on both sides of the ball which are exciting and we know what’s going to come down the line.”

Having joined Munster at the end of last season from French giants Racing 92, Prendergast admits it is very different being Limerick compared to Paris.

“In Paris, you can go for a coffee or go for lunch and you don’t meet anyone, and they don’t ask you any questions,” said Prendergast.

“Here, it’s a lot different and obviously I suppose we got a nice result last week, the performance wasn’t the best. When your performances overall haven’t been where people maybe expect them to be, yeah there’s a lot more to it.

“There’s more conversations around it but look, I knew that coming home. It’s a great club and it’s a great rugby city so you’ve got to embrace that as well, with the good times and with the tough times. And we know sport is like that and I know it very well, so I’m just getting used to that again.”

New combinations

Prendergast believes Munster’s poor attacking performances this season are largely because of the new combination in the side.

“There have been individual errors, but there has been that combination thing a small bit as well.

“To the naked eye I know it sometimes looks like a dropped pass but when you are playing with different players, different players pass the ball and run different lines, and it’s just getting the timing right and those different combinations as well. And yeah there are those individual errors.

“The players are the first people to realise that. We train at a high tempo with a lot of touches on the ball. As a coaching staff and as a group, we know where we want to go and this is the avenue that we’re going to go down, and we’re going to improve every day and every week by doing it.”

Prendergast knows the players will adjust to the new framework in time, which is not something that happens overnight.

“You don’t just go into a club and decide to put in a type of framework and system and expect it just to click straight away.

“So, that’s an ongoing and it will be an ongoing process that we’re working on. Every day and every week, we’re trying to get better at it.”

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