IT MAY be early days but green shoots are appearing in Munster after their United Rugby Championship (URC) win over Connacht last week. The confidence that many hoped would be garnered from the win over South Africa ‘A’ was evident in the bonus point performance.
With so much negativity surrounding the province in the last year or so, it was great to see such a display.
Perhaps one of the most heartening aspects of the win were the tries from Roman Salanoa, John Ryan, and Niall Scannell. Old style up the jumper stuff. The try from Calvin Nash was also a sight to behold, a mix of old and new.
The Connacht game started a very busy block of games for Graham Rowntree’s charges with Edinburgh on the immediate horizon this Friday in the URC. European games against Toulouse and Northampton Saints will follow, as will interpro’s against Leinster and Ulster but those are for another day.
Munster welcomed back many of their internationals from Irish duty and yet again it was the imperious Tadhg Beirne that shone brightest.
Beirne has developed into one of the most destructive players in world rugby over the last few years and all his talents were on full show at Thomond Park last week. Connacht, like so many others, had no answer to him.
Mike Prendergast’s message seems to be getting through from an attacking point of view too. Munster are starting to dovetail nicely in the backs and although there is still plenty to work on, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives.
Denis Leamy seems to be getting what he wants in defence as well. Connacht did cross for two tries, but both were due to individual errors rather than collective mistakes. Despite the slow start to the season as a whole, Munster rank fourth in tries conceded.
Munster were also helped by another impressive performance from new signing Antoine Frisch. The French born centre, who toured with Emerging Ireland to South Africa last month, spoke about his first experience of Thomond Park after the Connacht game:
“The atmosphere was really special. I have always dreamed of playing in a stadium like this. It was really special for me and my family as well. Really happy to get the win as well. A lot of fight from our forwards. Hopefully we can build on this. We left a lot of points out there but it’s really good to get the win,” he told Munster Rugby.
Munster should have Peter O’Mahony available for selection for the Edinburgh game, despite his early exit. He passed his Head Injury Assessment (HIA) but did not return to the game due to a facial/blood injury.
However, Mike Haley failed a HIA and did not make his way back onto the pitch. He will enter the graded return to play protocols.
Munster v Edinburgh has a 7.35pm kick off and is live on TG4.