23 Apr 14
This weekend the 16th Man takes to the seas and skies as the Red Army #InvadeMarseille for the Heineken Cup semi-final. Here's your guide to what's going on and how to get around Marseille.
Meanwhile assistant coach Ian Costello sees the inaugural competition as being vital in the development of the Munster squad.
"It's a great opportunity to look at the next tier of players, the lads who've come up through the Academy system." he said."A high majority of the boys are home grown, they've been involved in our system the last four five years so it's an opportunity to see those guys perform collectively in a significant competition. In the past number of years we've had the interpros but there hasn't been any reward for the team that has won or again any risk for those that have lost."
"A competition like the British & Irish Cup means they're under a bit of pressure so we get to see how they perform at the next level. So far we've had three games and as a group they've done particularly well."
"The management approach is that it has to be about the next tier of players and where they're going to come from." he continues. " I suppose there is a gap between the All Ireland League and the Magners, and the A is viewed as the best system to view these players in that type of environment."
"We've learnt a lot in the last three fixtures about a lot of these players and therefore we can make recommendations about who we can maybe push forward. And now this competition against foreign opposition gives them a little more exposure and we learn a bit more about them."
"The game tomorrow? We were likening it to going on tour when you play a team you don't know a huge lot about. We've seen them play some championship games this year and we've seen Coventry play Bristol, as it happens they're our first two opponents. But again the amount of footage we have is limited so what we've tried to do is really focus on the way we want to play, focus on our style of rugby and focus on the 22 players that are going to be involved in our squad."
And that's the mentality we had in training all week and that's the mentality we'll take into Friday's game. After we've played a few games, we'll be able to contrast and compare the differences in levels between the two countries."
"But for now it's a question of playing what's in front of us and take it from there."
Munster 'A'. F Jones; D Barnes, T Gleeson, S Deasy, D Hurley; D Cusack, D Williams; J Brugnaut, M Sherry, S Archer; I Nagle, D Foley; B Holland, N Ronan, J Coughlan capt. Replacements: S Henry, D Kilcoyne, N Williams, P O'Mahony, A Burke, P Rowley, S Zebo.