Munster's British & Irish Cup captain Billy Holland in action with Danny Barnes and Scott Deasy against Nottingham
Munster's British & Irish Cup captain Billy Holland in action with Danny Barnes and Scott Deasy against Nottingham
Win or Bust in Bristol
2 February 2011, 5:46 pm
By The Editor
Anthony Foley takes his British & Irish Cup side to Bristol's Memorial Stadium tonight knowing that anything other than a win will probably see an end to their chances of a place in the play offs.
Munster lead the Pool on 15 points but can be overtaken by today's opponents who have a game in hand and by second placed Llanelli whose last game is at home to Nottingham.

The ever pragmatic Foley knows exactly what's required, "It a very simple equation really as far as we're concerned. We have to win. We fully understood the predicament we were in after we'd lost that opening game against Llanelli. It was Cup rugby from there on in. We knew we couldn't afford another loss and that hasn't changed."

The difficulty facing Munster is that this re-arranged fixture falls in a nine day Magners League turnaround that stretches Munster's resources and sees them using players who played either last Friday or Saturday and some who will again be required for the game in Italy at the weekend.

"Look dealing with that is part and parcel of the job." said Foley. " We were disappointed that the game wasn't played on the original day. The pitch was playable, the problem was getting the covers off and the surrounding areas."

"But we just have to get on with it. We have a good mix of contracted and Academy players. A lot of quality players. I'm really looking forward to seeing them play and hopefully we'll give a good account of ourselves."

Except for that uncharacteristic opening day performance Foley's outfit have invariably given a good account of themselves. They dismissed Melrose and Esher with panache and delivered a gutsy win away in Nottingham characterised by a marvellous defensive end game.

They show an entirely new front row from the postponed trip here in December while five of the bench for that game are now in a starting XV that will be led by Billy Holland.

Meanwhile, Bristol make eleven changes to the side that faced Rotherham Titans with Head Coach Paul Hull making no secret of his ambition for a place in the quarter finals.

Jack Adams, Anthony Elliott and George Watkins retain their places in the backline from the weekend while Ed Barnes reverts to out-half and Jack Tovey switches to full-back.

It's all change up front where Hull welcomes back seven of the forwards who started against Plymouth Albion with only Darren Barry remaining from Saturday's defeat.

"This game will be our second in four days," said Hull, " so it's important that we continue to rotate the squad and keep everybody fresh. We're determined to get back to winning ways and Munster will be tough opposition."

On the replacements bench, Hull reverts to a five forwards and two backs split which may be an indicator of where the English intend to focus their efforts tonight.

Munster: S Deasy (Cork Con), D Barnes (Dolphin), T Gleeson (Cork Con), T Smith (Midleton), S Scanlon (Cork Con), D Cusack (Garryowen), C Murray (Garryowen), D Kilcoyne (UL Bohs), D Casey (Shannon), P Borlase(Dolphin), B Holland (Cork Con) capt, D Foley (UL Bohs), D O'Callaghan (Dolphin), B O'Hara (UL Bohs), P Butler (Shannon). Replacements: G Slattery (Young Munster), D Hurley (Cork Con), B Hayes (Cork Con), K Essex (UL Bohs), P Rowley (UL Bohs), C Hircock (Garryowen), R O'Mahoney (Garryowen).

Bristol Rugby: Jack Tovey; Anthony Elliott, Jack Adams, Junior Fatialofa, George Watkins; Ed Barnes, Richard Bolt; Mark Irish, Ross Johnston, Darren Crompton, Roy Winters, Darren Barry, Iain Grieve, James Merriman, Dan Montagu. Replacements: David Blaney, Jason Hobson, Wayne Thompson, Mariano Sambucetti, Jamie Miller, Sam Alford, Mark Davies.

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