Archer On Target For 60th Cap
27th November 2013 By Munster Rugby
Stephen Archer is in line to win his 60th Munster cap against Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday night, although he only found out yesterday.
The 25-year-old made his debut just over four years ago against Edinburgh at Murrayfield and was unaware that the landmark cap was looming.
“I’m looking forward to it, I didn’t actually realise it until now,” he said.
“As a player you sometimes forget about those things and the caps come quicker than you imagine so I’m looking forward to Friday night.”
Archer is a product of the Munster academy and has been a near ever-present this season featuring in nine of Munster’s 10 games so far.
His impressive early season form led to a call up by Joe Schmidt and a second Irish cap against Australia.
The Cork native returned to Munster midway through last week and replaced BJ Botha after 63 minutes in the excellent 31-10 win over Cardiff Blues and the prop was really impressed with his side’s display.
“It was a very good performance, especially in the first half when the lads did a great job and blew Cardiff off the pitch so it was an easy game to come on to finish it off,” he said.
“There are still a few things to work on, we conceded a try so we’ll try to tighten that up for this weekend.”
Newport, like Munster, also enjoyed a superb away win last weekend as they travelled to then second-placed Glasgow Warriors and recorded an impressive 23-8 win.
“Dragons had a very good result up in Glasgow, they beat them well and it’s a tough place to go,” said Archer.
“We just scraped out of there with the win and their victory was much more comprehensive and they will be looking for a scalp against us. We’ll really have to be on top of things at training this week and give it our best.”
With a Heineken Cup double-header against Perpignan following the trip to Rodney Parade, Archer admitted that it’s important the side keep their eye on the ball and continue their five game winning run.
“It’s very important to build the momentum, it would be easy to look ahead to Perpignan but we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground and concentrate on the Dragons.
“They’re sneaking up the table after that win against Glasgow and we’ve had a difficult time over there before, I’ve played there three times and only won once so hopefully we can get a win,” he added.
“That defeat to Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup took away any complacency, we’re focused now on our next few matches and confidence is building in the squad.”
Archer believes the team’s strength in depth has been a key factor in Munster’s early season form that has seen them win eight out of 10 games and open up a four-point lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12.
“If you look at every position there’s two or three or even four in some positions where fellas are neck and neck and you don’t really know week to week who will play. There’s very good competition in training,” he said.
“The lads have played the last two matches and had great wins and put in excellent performances. Hopefully now the players who are coming back into the squad from international duty can give it a good go and put our hands up for Heineken Cup selection.”