In Pics: Ulster Preparations
26th October 2016 By Munster Rugby
Earmarked always as one of the biggest challenges of the season, Munster travel to the Kingspan Stadium this Friday to face Ulster in round 7 of the Guinness PRO12. See our action shots from today’s preparations in Limerick and get the pre-match thoughts of hooker Niall Scannell.
Click here to view our training gallery.
Over a week since the sudden passing of Head Coach Anthony Foley and following Saturday’s historic and poignant scenes at Thomond Park, Niall Scannell discusses the feeling in the camp heading into this weekend’s game.
“I think surreal is probably a good word. We’re probably all still in disbelief that our Head Coach has passed away. We know Axel wouldn’t want Munster’s performances to dwindle in any way so we all need to row together from a coaching and playing point of view to fill that void and get back into the swing of playing games week in week out because at the end of the day he would have wanted us to win.
“Last week we showed fans what we can do and now it’s about proving that we can back it up. We know how tight we are and how hard we work and maybe some performances did not reflect that. It was great to get such a massive crowd in Thomond Park and a lot of the closeness in that performance came from the energy that they gave us. They helped in every aspect of what we showed on Saturday.”
Just once in his senior career has Scannell faced Ulster, and a memorable outing that was as Munster overcame the odds to record a famous 7-9 away win in Belfast last January, having lost their previous five games. Seeing 21 minutes off the bench that day, the hooker knows first-hand what to expect in a fixture where tight margins and high intensity go hand in hand.
“They’re a brilliant team Ulster, well drilled, very organised, very physical and it’s never an easy task up there. We’re under no illusions this week. We have go to get ourselves to a similar level to last week and hopefully we can get the win up there.”
A potent weapon for Munster this season, perhaps most notably last Saturday, has been their scrum with Scannell and the pack hoping to use it to good effect again on Friday.
“We’re quite happy with how it’s going and we’re trying to get better and better. You come out of a very tough game like Glasgow and then you see Ulster’s front row and realise you’re going to be severely tested again this weekend. We’re not patting ourselves on the back, we’re constantly striving for improvement and that what’s we’re hoping for again this week. Jerry Flannery has done massive work with us. Obviously it’s harder when you only have a six day turnaround but in general we always get two good scrummaging sessions in a week.”
Ulster v Munster, Guinness PRO12 round 7, Friday October 28th at the Kingspan Stadium – ko 7.05pm.
Next Home Game:
Munster welcome Ospreys to Irish Independent Park, Cork next Friday November 4th at 7.35pm. Tickets can be purchased online here or from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park.