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Munster One Win Away From Welsh Clean Sweep

Munster One Win Away From Welsh Clean Sweep

Munster face the Scarlets on Saturday looking for a victory that would complete a clean sweep over the Welsh regions this season in the RaboDirect PRO12 – a feat that has never been accomplished by any team before.

Rob Penney’s men secured their seventh win of the season over a Welsh side in last weekend’s 25-11 triumph away to the Ospreys, and another success in Wales this weekend would complete the set.

“It would be an amazing achievement,” said Penney. “But it will all come down to how the boys prepare and with the short turnaround and two away trips, it’s a difficult week for us.”

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2013 Lion Jonathan Davies returns to the Scarlets side after an injury lay-off and with 23-times capped England international Olly Barkley recently added to the squad, Penney is well aware of the Scarlets’ dangerous back-line and powerful forward unit.

“Olly (Barkley) brings a wealth of experience to their inside backs’ combination, he’s a very talented player but they’re a good side there’s no doubt about that and they’ll be difficult over there.

“They (the Scarlets forwards) are lively and they’re very aggressive, it’s something that we need to be really cognisant of and try to combat that because it’s a big part of their game and they have destroyed a few packs.”

In Swansea Donnacha Ryan played the full 80 minutes for the first time since his return from injury and the lock, who also trained with the Ireland squad last week, is keen for more game-time against a Scarlets side he rates highly.

“I’m extremely fresh so it’s great to be back playing and I’m mad to play every minute,” admitted Ryan.

“I was very happy to get out on the field and get a full game under my belt (against the Ospreys) and I got around 70 minutes the week before, so I’m very happy with how things are going.

“Every week there’s big pressure on us because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. The Scarlets are a very tough side especially over there. We lost over there (in Llanelli) last year – it was a tough loss for us to take.

“They haven’t got many internationals away so they’re going to be pretty strong. The threat is not to get carried away with ourselves. We had a good win last weekend but certainly we made a lot of mistakes that we would like to improve on.

“We have to be prepared this weekend, there’s four points up for grabs and the Scarlets playing at home are obviously going to be up for it so we have to be up for it as well.”

When the sides met in Cork earlier this season it took a late Ronan O’Mahony try to seal a 16-10 win over Simon Easterby’s Scarlets. Munster scrum half Duncan Williams is expecting another tight encounter.

“They have a good squad, it took us to three or four minutes into added time at Musgrave Park to beat them so I’m expecting another tough battle over there and it should be an interesting game,” he said.

“They’re a big, physical side and they like going through on the scrum half but we have a big side as well so it should be a good game.”

RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Munster face the Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday evening, kicking off at 6.30pm. The game will be televised live on RTÉ Two and S4C with live updates here.