Munster seek further glory in South Africa

RG Snyman dances through the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. Photo: Shaun Roy.

MUNSTER will look back and rue the lost opportunity of not reaching the semi-final of the Investec Cup, but their fortune is within their own hands now with a second successive URC title still very much within reach.

If their performance at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld Stadium is anything to go on, the Reds are once again hitting peak form, and with a full squad available at the right time, there is a hunger to retain their crown.

The difference between their last two fixtures was the strength of the bench and in the final stages last Saturday, with the opposition (Bulls) down to 14, the fresh legs proved crucial.

Munster boss Graham Rowntree was pleased with the 22-27 win, saying: “We have so much respect for South African teams and when you come down here you have got to be good. I’m immensely proud of the lads for that effort against a very good team. We had a good plan going into this game against this team and we stuck to that plan.”

Still, Rowntree warned, “there are still elements we have to improve on. We can be so much better.”

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Three Munster players were subsequently named in the BKT URC Team of the Weekend, namely centre Alex Nankivell, out-half Jack Crowley, and second-row RG Snyman, which speaks for itself.

This Saturday they play the second game of their visit to South Africa with the Lions welcoming the holders to Johannesburg.

The home side will be boosted by their victory over a weakened Leinster last week on a 44-12 scoreline but Rowntree will be cautious about his selection with few changes from the starting XV that beat the Bulls expected.

That result moved Munster to third in the table and with only three rounds of the competition remaining after this weekend (home to Connacht on May 11, away to Edinburgh on May 17 and home to Ulster on June 1), Munster are in line for a strong final placing.