The British & Irish Cup resumes this weekend with Ulster Ravens hosting Cardiff and the three other Irish provinces on their travels – the Connacht Eagles are away to Cross Keys, Leinster ‘A’ are Jersey-bound and Munster ‘A’ face a tricky trip to Rotherham.
Both Munster ‘A’ and Rotherham Titans, who meet at Clifton Lane on Saturday, are undefeated at this stage and Rotherham currently hold top spot in Pool 7 on nine points, one point ahead of their round 3 visitors.
Scott Deasy, who has featured in the two opening rounds, is aware of the challenge that lies ahead in the first of Munster’s back-to-back games with Rotherham.
“They have new coaching staff in there this year. I’ve talked to Sean Dougall, who played there last year, and he said they’re a very traditional club with a big community atmosphere and the pitch can present a hostile environment with the crowd on top of you,” he told the province’s website.
“They’ve quite a big pack with two direct centres so defensively we’ll be tested, but I’m sure we will be more than able to match them physically and then it’s down to skill execution and attitude.
“We’re looking forward to it but we’ll have to go in there with our heads on. They’re roughly mid-table in the Championship so we’ll have a challenge on our hands, but it’s great to get a back-to-back game as well, the same as the seniors.”
As the Munster senior side continue their preparations for their Heineken Cup clash with Saracens, both squads trained at the University of Limerick on Tuesday which, according to Deasy, is always a huge benefit.
“The back-to-back weeks are massive in the Heineken Cup and if you can win those it’s a huge momentum thing, so if we could mirror that with the ‘A’ team and get back-to-back results against Rotherham it would be massive for us to qualify for the knockout stages,” he explained.
“We’ve a big squad here, very competitive, and guys are fighting tooth and nail to get spots on the Heineken Cup team.
“If we come in with the right result on Saturday and it gets through to them before they kick-off against Saracens, they’ll know that we’re doing our part for the squad so it might drive them on.”
Munster ‘A’ head coach Ian Costello will have to do without the likes of Barry O’Mahony (groin) and Academy players Cian Bohane (knee) and Corey Hircock (ankle) this week.
“As unfortuante as it is to have the guys out injured, it shouldn’t be an issue as there is plenty of depth in the squad and players like Ivan Dineen have returned from injury also,” added Deasy.
“It’s a massive six days for us because there is a short turnaround then with the game the following Friday at Musgrave Park.”
BRITISH & IRISH CUP – ROUND 3 FIXTURES:
Saturday, December 8 –
Pool 4: Cross Keys v CONNACHT EAGLES, Pandy Park, 2pm
Pool 7: Rotherham Titans v MUNSTER ‘A’, Clifton Lane, 2pm
Pool 1: ULSTER RAVENS v Cardiff, Ravenhill, 2.30pm
Pool 5: Jersey v LEINSTER ‘A’, St. Peter’s, 3pm
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