In Pics | Cheetahs Preparations
5th September 2017 By The Editor
Take a behind the scenes look at the training field in UL yesterday where Munster stepped up preparations for Saturday’s historic clash with the Cheetahs, their first ever against South African opposition in the Guinness PRO14. Plus, get the prematch thoughts of Rassie Erasmus.
Yesterday also saw the squad warm up with a game of the ever-competitive ‘foot-volleyball’ with prop John Ryan, aka Ryanaldo, producing a moment of inspired athleticism and footwork. See for yourself…
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) September 4, 2017
While content with last Friday night’s triumph over Benetton Rugby on Leeside, Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus knows the hard work has just begun if they are to repeat the exploits of last season and take it one step further to silverware.
“We have to evolve and for most coaching teams the easiest things to fix are the mechanical things – breakdown, scrum, defence, etc. They are not so much skill based, whereas with counter attack – dynamic play and continuity – those things take a bit more time before people are comfortable.
“I never thought we were bad, we were one of the top scoring teams off turnovers, but we were lacking a certain dimension. Therefore myself, Jacques, Jerry and Felix looked at a few things in the off-season. The way the laws are changing the attacking teams are benefitting more and so we are trying to enhance that aspect of our game. Hopefully you will see more of that in our game this season.
“We had more time to work on it this year with a full nine-week preseason. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and it’s one thing to do it when you are well on top, but the skill is to do it in tight situations and keep believing. Even if it doesn’t work, have the confidence to try it again, but obviously not sacrificing wins at the same time.”
Saturday sees the Cheetahs complete their Irish tour in Thomond Park this weekend having shipped a heavy 42-19 defeat in Ulster, with the Southern Kings going down 57-10 at Scarlets. Not the best of starts for the South Africans?
“They are two totally different set ups. They Cheetahs are a well-established team that have played seven Currie Cups games together this year – they are second at the minute and last year they won the Currie Cup. They will only get better as they get used to the travel, new opposition, new individuals, new cultures and new competition. We have to remember that PRO14 was never televised in South Africa before now and they will take a little while to get fully up to speed. And remember, if one or two more of their passes had stuck up in Ulster it would have been a very close game.
“The same can be said for the Southern Kings obviously but they might take a little bit longer as they are not even playing in the Currie Cup. They did play together in Super Rugby but lost a lot of players to other provinces. But those guys will build quickly and when the return legs come in South Africa, it will be a totally different story and I am in no doubt that both sides will be a wonderful addition to the competition.”
Next Home Game
This Saturday, September 9th, Munster return to Thomond Park to face Cheetahs. Be there to witness history as the province take on South African opposition for the first time in competition – KO 5.15pm.