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Scannell Geared Up For Season Ahead

9th September 2015 By Munster Rugby

Scannell Geared Up For Season Ahead

After summer involvement in Emerging Ireland’s Tbilisi Cup winning campaign, academy player Rory Scannell opened his 2015/16 PRO12 campaign with a strong showing at inside centre against Treviso in Cork last weekend.

After summer involvement in Emerging Ireland’s Tbilisi Cup winning campaign, academy player Rory Scannell opened his 2015/16 PRO12 campaign with a strong showing at inside centre against Treviso in Cork last weekend.

Making his competitive league debut away to Cardiff Blues last November, the versatile back has gone on to make four PRO12 appearances, starting in all four – three times at inside centre and once at out-half. A graduate of PBC, Cork, the year-three academy player reflects on Munster’s PRO12 win over Treviso on Saturday in which he was one of the game’s standout players, both in attack and defence.

“It was a tough challenge for the team, Treviso are a very physical and sticky team to play against and it was great to get a win first day out – this time last year we had a tough loss to Edinburgh.

“We’re looking to build and build each week, there’s plenty to work on from the game and we’ll have our work cut out this weekend against Ospreys who are a very tough team to beat at home, as we know well from the past few seasons.”

The Round 1 duel in Cork saw Scannell form an impressive centre partnership alongside his academy colleague David Johnston who himself was making his PRO12 debut in the red of Munster.

“It was my first hit out with Dave at this level and he went very well at the weekend. I would have played in the centre with him for Munster ‘A’ over the past few seasons so the only new thing for us was the step up in the level of rugby and he definitely put his hand up for selection again this week. He’ll be looking to build during the World Cup and get a good run of games.”

With Munster’s World Cup representatives unavailable for the opening rounds of this season’s league, Scannell, like Johnston, is also hoping to capitalise on the selection chances presented in their absence.

“I was delighted to get some run outs last season but I never got a run of games week on week. 12 is a very competitive position here with Denis (Hurley), Francis (Saili), Cian (Bohane), Matt (D’Arcy), myself and more all vying for selection. There’s a lot of competition and a lot of combinations that can go in the centre. You need to keep your head down, work hard and it’s that’s waiting game – once you get your opportunity, take it with both hands and stake your claim for selection. That’s what I’m trying to do at the moment and hopefully I can get another run out in the coming weeks.”

Making three of his four Munster appearances in Cork, as a Dolphin clubman, Scannell is no stranger to the Irish Independent Park pitch and is testament to the importance of the club game in the development of emerging players.

“I played a lot of rugby for Dolphin in the AIL last season and it was great. When not playing for Munster it allowed me get a run of games from where you can push on to Munster ‘A’. There’s a lot of club lads coming through to the Munster academy just from playing at AIL level and that’s great to see – long may it continue.”

Last Saturday, for the second time in just over 6 months, the playmaker was joined by his older brother – development hooker Niall – in the matchday 23, with the duo previously representing their native province together against Cardiff Blues in February.

“I’m well used to playing with Niall, through Pres, Dolphin and now with Munster. It’s been great to get a run out with him in the red jersey and fingers crossed we can keep doing it. He’d critique my play and we have quite a few words on the pitch but it’s all constructive – he tries to help me and I try to help him. He takes it and I take it, we’ve had plenty of it down the years so I’m well used to it by now.”

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