Jump to main content


Munster Expecting Backlash From Gloucester

Munster Expecting Backlash From Gloucester

Rob Penney’s Munster side travel to Kingsholm for a vital Heineken Cup round 5 clash on Saturday evening well aware of the threat posed by hosts Gloucester.

A win for Munster would keep them in pole position to qualify for the quarter-finals as pool winners, but that will be no mean feat against a Gloucester outfit looking to bounce back after last weekend’s humbling at home against Saracens.

Munster head coach Rob Penney said: “They’ll be very motivated to do well, there’s nothing worse in some respects than going to an area with a proud history, like Gloucester have at Kingsholm, after they’ve been wounded badly, as they were last week against Saracens.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

“They have been criticised roundly by their supporters, their public and their ex-players which is pretty hard to take.

“They’ll be desperate to do well on Saturday which makes our job that little bit harder.

“It’s a challenging place to go and on the back of what happened last week that makes it even more challenging.”

The province’s forwards provided two tries, and very nearly a third, from rolling mauls at Ravenhill but Penney insists that area of the game will not necessarily be a major part of the Munster game-plan.

“It’s a great area of strength for us, Axel (Anthony Foley) has got that maul aspect of the game working really well and the boys have bought into what he’s trying to do there and we’re getting good outcomes from it,” he explained.

“Every team has a vulnerability, Gloucester have some and we’ve got some and whether the maul makes up a big part of our strategy this week we’ll wait and see, but it’s great credit to the lads and Axel that it’s going so well.”

Prop David Kilcoyne echoed Penney’s sentiments as Munster look to make it four wins in a row in Europe after the opening day defeat to Edinburgh.

“They’re a side steeped in tradition, they’re a bit like us in that they take huge pride in their forwards and in their set-piece,” said the Ireland international.

“They got beaten badly last week in front of their home crowd so they’ll be gunning for blood this week and we’ve a mammoth task ahead of us going over there. They don’t want to be beaten twice, especially at home.”

Gloucester’s inconsistent form in the Aviva Premiership sees them lying ninth in the table, 11 points off the play-offs but Munster full-back Felix Jones discounts the notion that league form will have any bearing on Saturday’s encounter.

“It’s very hard to look at a team’s domestic form, that’s the beauty of the competition – it can bring out the best in teams,” he said.

“If you look at Edinburgh two years ago when they got to the semis, they didn’t have a great domestic season so we wouldn’t be reading into anything like that too deeply.

“We know what they’re capable of and they’re a dangerous side so we’ll be aware of that at the weekend.”

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Munster hooker Damien Varley’s foot injury is not as bad as first expected.

Varley limped off against Ulster last Friday night but will look to train on Thursday and will be given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the Pool 6 encounter with Gloucester.

Scrum half Cathal Sheridan will be out for approximately four to six weeks after injuring the medial ligaments in his left knee in the Ulster game.

But it is good news for international lock Donnacha Ryan as he is back running this week and his knee has ‘settled really well’.

Hooker Mike Sherry, who has been out of action with a knee injury, is using his time while sidelined to get some repair work done on his shoulder and will undergo surgery ‘in the next week or so’.