URC final repeat at Thomond Park

Calvin Nash scores a try against Stormers in May’s URC final clash in Cape Town. Photo: Grant Pitcher.

DEFENDING URC champions Munster host Stormers at Thomond Park this afternoon (Saturday, 5.15pm).

According to backs coach Denis Leamy, nineth placed Munster (with Bulls, Leinster and Glasgow at the summit) will be ready for the challenge after what he described as “the inaccuracy, missed tackles, and problems at the breakdown” of last weekend against Ulster.

“The Stormers are one of the best teams in the league,” he stated. “Their ability to move at speed from any position on the field is scary and this is going to be a big challenge for us. We will have to break them down and restrict their line speed but we have reviewed the Ulster game and we will be better on Saturday.”

Prop John Ryan, back after stints in England and in New Zealand, said that he was looking forward to the fixture: “We were just not good enough at the breakdown on Friday, that cost us, and we will have to do better against the Stormers. We need to be more aggressive and contest better at the scrum. I believe the scrums should be looked at. There is a lot of messing going on.”

For Munster, the remaining league games before the start of the Heineken Cup read: Stormers at home, followed by Leinster away, and Glasgow Warriors as visitors.

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It will certainly judge the strength and competitiveness of this Munster squad and their ability to shine. It is going to be difficult and, even when the internationals return, the loss of the retired Keith Earls and Andrew Conway, along with the absence of injured pair Joey Carbery and RG Snyman, could prove difficult.

New players Alex Nankivell and Seán O’Brien may take a few more weeks to settle-in.

“Mike Prendergast has been a very helpful coach since I joined Munster and I am settling in well,” commented O’Brien.

Written by Aidan Corr.