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Changes leave Munster with a tough task

By David Kelly

Another week of uncertainty for Munster.

Just as new coach Johann van Graan begins to get his feet settled under his desk, one of his star players - Simon Zebo - decides to up sticks and leave.

A steady start in domestic and European fare admirably papers over the growing cracks but there remains some unease at Munster's ability to repeat - or surpass - last season's efforts.

Conor Murray said: "Hopefully that is the way it is going to progress under Johann, we'll keep going that way. From my point of view, from the way we played last year, Rassie (Erasmus) probably did strip it back, went back to basics and got us quite far.

"But to get an edge for those big knockout games and beat teams like Saracens, we need more. We've developed though."

Losing Zebo will limit this scope given Murray's acknowledgement of his ability but although he represents a massive loss to the province, the Lions star believes Munster can cope with that and the coaching transition. They must.

"Zeebs leaving is a massive thing. It will be talked about for a while and who'll replace him?" asked Murray ahead of tonight's clash with Connacht. "To replace an all-round person like that is going to be very difficult.

"Our back three is loaded with quality, but when you have someone that special and he leaves it's obviously going to leave a hole. It'll be a big one to fill.

"The coaching transition isn't ideal. We'll get through it and we'll keep going - that's our plan and Johann is over, we met him and he seems really good.

"That transition, we're going to try our best to make it as smooth as possible, but it's going to be challenging."

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