Italian job next on the horizon for Munster

MUNSTER travel to Italy this weekend to face Zebre following their comprehensive 68-3 win over the Southern Kings in Cork. Johann van Graan’s men moved up to second place in the conference by virtue of that victory with debutant John Hodnett among those to impress earning a man of the match gong.

The trip to face Michael Bradley’s side is another chance to blood some of the young guns that have impressed with the province in recent times. However, the massive win has been overshadowed by the death of former Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald, who passed away at the weekend. Van Graan led the tributes to Fitzgerald earlier this week.

“He was a great man. It was an emotional day (Fitzgerald’s funeral on Monday). All of Munster went to the church to make sure we pay the respect that Garrett deserved. On top of that, to make sure that Aine and the kids are as good as they can be.

“On the other side of it, we have a game on Friday night to prepare for so that’s all our focus for the rest of the week. We had a very short turnaround from the Kings on Monday to Tuesday, but that’s sport and you have got to adapt to what life throws at you.”

The victory over the Kings saw Munster at the summit of Conference B in the Pro14, but Edinburgh’s win over Scarlets last Saturday saw them regain the top spot. Van Graan is expecting lots of change at the top of the table for the rest of the regular season.

“If you look at how the fixtures fall, everybody is playing everybody in the coming weeks and I guess that everybody will have some ups and downs over the next 10 rounds. You have got to make sure that you stay in contention.

“Our last three games of the season are against Scarlets away, Edinburgh away and Connacht at home. It’s four teams within this group and the double swing of points against the teams in your conference will be massive in the context of the season.”

The Munster head coach also spoke of the importance of growing the squad ahead of the Zebre game, noting that some of the players that impressed against the Kings may not get a run in Italy, where others will get a chance to show their talents.

Heineken Champions Cup Round 3, Thomond Park, Limerick, Co. Limerick 7/12/2019 Munster vs Saracens Munster’s senior coach Stephen Larkham Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Two players that will be in contention for Munster at the weekend are Darren Sweetnam and Tommy O’Donnell who have made their return from injury. However, there is no update on when out half duo Joey Carbery and Tyler Bleyendaal will return to action. Munster’s game with Zebre on Friday is live on eirSport.

Social Sharing

Posted in

WATCH: Munster release highlight packages for departing players

Over the past week, Munster Rugby have announced a number of departures for the Province with Sammy Arnold, ...
Read More

WATCH: George Lee and Matthew Potter document the history of Thomond Park

Thomond Park is one of the most well known stadiums worldwide, home to two time European Heineken Cup ...
Read More

Munster confirm departure of trio as Brian Scott is forced to retire

Munster Rugby can confirm that prop Brian Scott, who last lined out for the province in November 2018, ...
Read More
Old Crescent

Old Crescent RFC confirm new President for coming season

Paul Donnellan has been elected President of Old Crescent RFC for the coming season. Paul has been an ...
Read More

Munster Rugby Update with Chris Farrell

The Munster players have been working on remote training programs since the middle off March. Chris Farrell spoke ...
Read More

WATCH: Munster’s Epic 2004 Heineken Cup Semi-Final against Wasps this Saturday

The Heineken Champions Cup Rewind has something special in store this Saturday (May 30) with the opportunity to rewatch the incredible 2004 semi-final between ...
Read More

QUIZ: Name Ireland’s Lions since 2009

International Rugby is still some way away due to the ongoing pandemic. However, there is still much hope ...
Read More

BREAKING: End of August return planned for Guinness Pro 14

IRFU Chief Executive, Philip Browne, has today announced Irish Rugby’s ‘Return to Train and Play’ proposals have been submitted ...
Read More