Munster aim to bounce back in URC

Graham Rowntree’s men will be hoping for a comeback win after losing out to Leinster last weekend. Photo: Harry Murphy.

WITH Musgrave Park proving to be a happy hunting ground in recent times, Munster will be expecting to bounce back from the Leinster defeat on Friday. However, it won’t be easy against Glasgow Warriors.

Leaders Glasgow have been the surprise packets of the season so far in the United Rugby Championship (URC) and have a one-point lead ahead of Leinster. They have won five of their six games, four of them at home, and their only defeat was away to Connacht.

Munster, Ulster, and Connacht are three of the five teams locked together on 18 points. While head coach Graham Rowntree says that “all fixtures in this league are must-win games”, there is a little bit of pressure on the home side to get a victory.

While it was disappointing for Munster to suffer a defeat in the Aviva Stadium, there were a lot of positives to take from the 80 minutes.

There were some impressive performances with Tom Aherne having an outstanding game, John Hodnett and Simon Zebo both catching the eye of Ireland boss Andy Farrell, and Brian Gleeson not out of place when he came on in the latter stages of the game.

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Glasgow will be well prepared for this fixture. Their maul against Ulster last weekend was superb, they have a lot of height in their pack and their set-piece worked well.

The Munster coaches will have been busy analysing these parts of their game during the week and will take the necessary action.

Confirmation that Jean Kleyn is staying with the Reds for another two seasons at least, and Hodnett and Liam Coombes also nailing their posts to the mast, has been a boost.

The South African lock has been one of the best signings for decades. He played a major role in Munster’s triumph last season, playing in almost every game, and he is a valuable member of the squad having played 137 games for the province since he first tasted Irish rugby in 2016.

This evening’s game (a sell out with kick-off at 7.35pm) is set up as a real physical battle between two sides with high aspirations this season.

For Munster, they need to come away with a win to boost their confidence for the visit of Aviron Bayonnais to Thomond Park the following week and then the derby clash with Leinster at the same venue on St Stephen’s Day.