FRESH from a timely home win over South African giants Bulls, Munster now face an acid test when they run-up against age-old rivals and leaders Leinster in the United Rugby Championship at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday (kick-off, 5.15pm).
In front a 12,000-strong attandance, the weekend morale-boosting 31-17 bonus point victory at Thomond Park was achieved through four tries, all of which came from forwards; two in the first half from Gavin Coombes and one apiece after the break from Jeremy Loughman and Tadhg Beirne. It was a contest in which Joey Carberry excelled.
“We weren’t perfect, so there is improvement required,” said winning coach Graham Rowntree as the focus quickly switched to Dublin.
“We will have to be even more clinical around some of our lineout possession. I’m confident we can put pressure on any team if we can keep the ball when we are in their 22.
“Factually, we are very good with limited minutes. We can score tries. That has been a big focus. But we have to be better, we know that.
“You’ve always got to keep looking forward to the next job. There’s always something to do next, we can’t dwell too long. We keep striving for perfection but it’s good to see what we’ve been doing in training coming out on the field.”
Rowntree was coy about the prospect of injured stars Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo, and Mike Haley being available for selection this time around.
Meanwhile, three of Leinster’s key players received minor injuries in their 10-nil victory over Connacht with Jack Conan (eye), James Ryan (knee), and Josh van der Flier (ankle) all retiring early in Galway.
The trio are obviously doubts for Munster’s visit.
Head coach Leo Cullen, however, revealed that the decision to take Tadhg Furlong off at half-time was tactical rather than enforced, so expect the two-time Lion to be on the starting blocks in a few days’ time.
Munster will announce their team around lunchtime on Friday, log on to limerickpost.ie for more details.