Munster begin their campaign this weekend when they travel to the Sportsground to face Connacht.
Laura Guest takes charge of the Munster Women’s side for her first ever interprovincial series as coach on Saturday when they make the trip to Galway to face Connacht Women at the Sportsground at 2:30pm.
Ahead of her first game as head coach, Guest chatted to Sporting Limerick about the series and admits that the opening fixture doesn’t come much tougher “than an away trip in an Interpro”
“Connacht in Galway is always a tough one. Connacht anywhere is a tough one. There’s no easy games in the Interpros at the best of times”
Guest has named a match day panel with a good blend of youth and experience. Siobhan Fleming captains the side from the back row with the experienced front row trio of Fiona Hayes, Gillian Bourke and Fiona Reidy sure to give the away side a strong platform to work from.
Syphonia Pua, Rachel Allen and Siobhan McCarthy are the three uncapped players at this level, but have merited their starting place through fine performances for their clubs UL Bohs and Railway Union, who sit first and second respectively in the Women’s All Ireland League.
Last year, the series came down to the final day with Munster, Connacht and Leinster all on one win a piece. Munster went into the last game with Leinster knowing a win was a must but fell just short allowing Adam Grigg’s charges to top the table.
In the reverse fixture last year in Irish Independent Park, Falvey’s side came out on top on a scoreline of 12-8 in what was a tight encounter throughout. tries from Irish International winger Eimear Consideine and Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird along with the boot of Edel Murphy helped their side get a second round win.
You can see highlights of that game below. Video Courtesy of Irish Rugby TV
The former Munster and Irish international also feels this campaign is a great opportunity for new girls to try and put their hands up for selecti on for the national side, only a few months out from the Women’s Six Nations.
“I’d say to be honest the majority of our girls are just focused on their primary job which is to perform in red. I think they’d love to impress a coach who’s going to select them in green potentially but I think for now their focus is only on the Interpro’s which is great for me. But certainly there is a lot of players with a lot of talent”
Guest who racked up many caps as a Munster player in her career is relishing her competitive coaching debut at this level. However she says the player’s instinct never leaves you.
“It is very different in terms of that I am supposed to be the boss but sometimes I want to have the laugh with the girls so I have to remind myself that I have a different role now and likewise I have to remind myself that I can’t really take part.
“Small things like I don’t wear a pair of boots to training because I might forget where I am, things like that. I think the player in you never really goes but thankfully the coaching route is a way of staying involved with your playing route is finished.
“I am really enjoying it and learning a lot. At this point it’s a case of you hope you have the team prepared for the first challenge of Connacht.”
You can listen to Laura Guests full interview with Sporting Limerick below.