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Erasmus: We Can’t Dwell On Last Week

15th September 2016 By Munster Rugby

Erasmus: We Can’t Dwell On Last Week

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus is looking forward to seeing how his side respond to last weekend’s defeat to Cardiff Blues when they travel to the Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday evening (5.15pm, live on Sky Sports).

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus is looking forward to seeing how his side respond to last weekend’s defeat to Cardiff Blues when they travel to the Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday evening (5.15pm, live on Sky Sports).

Having made the perfect start to the Guinness PRO12 season with a 23-13 win away to Scarlets, a more experienced Blues side clinically punished any Munster errors to escape Cork with a one-point victory.

“That’s rugby, one moment you’re up and the next moment you’re down,” says Erasmus. “But it’s how you handle it and how you come out a better player and person.

“You look at Connacht and where they were last year and what happened in their first two matches, it’s a very humbling game. We must learn that very quickly; don’t dwell too much on how you played the previous week, it has nothing to do with the next week.

“We all know that was a really disappointing performance the last day. Myself and the coaches, we did a few things not right during the game and leading up to the game maybe. That always makes a big contribution.

"We were all frustrated after an away win (at Scarlets) and then adding a home loss. If we play that bad it's frustrating.”

This weekend’s clash against the Dragons comes too soon for new signing Jaco Taute but Keith Earls and Conor Murray are set to follow the lead of fellow Ireland internationals CJ Stander and Donnacha Ryan last week by playing some part at Rodney Parade.

Erasmus said: “We’d love [Earls] to focus on the wing but luckily he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t really care where he plays, he just likes to be in the team. I think we’re in a situation now where he has to be considered there [at 13].

“He’s back and fully fit and the wings are doing really well, Ronan O’Mahony and Sweets [Darren Sweetnam], they’re some of our standout players. Andrew [Conway] is just back last week while Simon Zebo is coming back to full fitness, it’s been a while since he got injured so another two or three weeks to go before he’s coming back. So we’re getting there and Earlsy will have to be considered at 13.

“The first two, three games it’s tough on you and not just because you’re without them [the internationals] but you can’t put match fitness on them. So that’s always the challenge. Like CJ last week, it’s likely with Conor and Earlsy this week, although you want your best players to be on the park you have to think how you’re going to give them game time.

“They won’t be match-fit, you can’t simulate matches in training and they wouldn’t have played any warm-up matches so it’s now our challenge, with the injuries we have, to make sure they can go as long as they physically can, not to try and get 80 minutes out of the guys, that’s not possible.

“We all know how world-class Conor [Murray] is so that’s a nice position to be in – nobody can argue what Conor brings to the team, it’s unbelievable. But I think Duncan Williams has really been doing well, he did really well in the first game and he still really performed well against Cardiff Blues despite some of the pressure he was under at the breakdown, so I think he’s in a nice, positive spot himself."

Erasmus also outlined the qualities that Taute will bring to the squad as the three-cap South Africa international awaits a work permit.

"In Jaco you will get experience and that will add a lot," Erasmus said of his compatriot. "Obviously he is a good player too. He is a good fit for the problem we have and he will help us a lot. He covers 12,13 and full-back. I really rate him as a player and a person. His work permit has to be sorted out and we’re just waiting for that."

Having lost their opening day encounter away to Ulster, the Dragons got their campaign up and running with an 11-6 win over Zebre last time out. Rodney Parade is a notoriously difficult place to win and Munster were soundly beaten there last season, 22-6, although Erasmus is keen not to dwell on past fixtures between the teams.

“It’s tough for myself and Jacques [Nienaber] to gauge the baggage of the past. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, certainly the first game away it was good that we didn’t feel the pressure of playing the Scarlets there.

"I have watched the Dragons closely and they’re certainly a gutsy and nitty-gritty team and they enjoy attacking, I think it’s going to be a massive challenge, we all know that. They won last week and you’re always more confident and positive after a win so we’ll have to get ourselves up for this one.”

Next Home Game:
Munster play in Thomond Park for the first time this season against Edinburgh on Saturday, September 24, at 3pm.

Adult tickets from €;20 and Family tickets from €;40 (2 adults & 2 juniors) can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 0818 719 300.

Match Packs
Tickets can also be bought as part of Match Packs – select a minimum of 3 games and save 10% across the cost of all tickets. Click here to start building your Match Pack now.

Full ticket information here.

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