Munster head west for URC clash with Connacht

Ruadhan Quinn in action for the Munster under-19s.

MUNSTER will be hoping for a much-improved performance when they tackle Connacht in the latest round of the BKT United Rugby Championship at The Sportsground, Galway, this Friday night (kick-off 7.35pm, coverage with TG4 and Live 95).

It’s the first of three interprovincial derbies for Munster in October. 

Back-to-back losses in Wales, against Cardiff and Dragons, were followed-up with a laboured 21-5 (but no bonus point) win against Zebre Parma at Musgrave Park but teething problems still remained aplenty for Graham Rowntree’s team – a view shared by the attendance of around 6,500. 

It was an outing which marked a milestone 50th appearance in red by Craig Casey, who has just signed a welcome three-year extension, and the historic introduction of Crescent College’s Munster Schools Senior Cup star Ruadhán Quinn, who at just 18 became the youngest ever to line-out for the province at senior competitive level. 

Conor Phillips (Young Munster) also debuted on the wing.

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Ahead of the trip west, Munster coach Graham Rowntree told the Irish Examiner: “It’s always a big night up there. It’s an inter-pro, we’ve not won up there since 2019 by recollection”. 

“We lost there on New Year’s Day this year and they played really well that day, they forced us into making a lot of errors.

“So it was always going to be tough but now their record going into this game (three losses) and their new pitch and all that wrapped up, it’s going to be an even tougher ask for us.”

Munster’s first Limerick fixture will be when Vodacom Bulls (South Africa) visit Thomond Park on Saturday night week, which will be followed quickly to close out October with a demanding fixture with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on October 22 and a visit to Limerick by Ulster the following weekend.