Peter Malone’s Munster ‘A’ squad travel to Donnybrook on Friday night (kick-off 7pm) to take on Leinster ‘A’ with a place in the last-four of the British & Irish Cup at stake.
Munster ‘A’ finished second in Pool 4 with five wins out of six, while Girvan Dempsey’s Leinster ‘A’ outfit topped Pool 1 with a 100% record.
“It’s a big test,” admitted Peter Malone. “There’s a great rivalry over the last three years between Leinster ‘A’ and Munster ‘A’.
“Certainly, you couldn’t ask for a bigger test than going to Donnybrook on a Friday night to play Leinster in a quarter-final. It’s a big challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
Leinster ‘A’ knocked their Munster counterparts out of the competition at the semi-final stage last season but Malone insists that game will have no bearing on Friday’s clash with the sole focus on securing a place in the last-four.
“Aside from that game, it is a quarter-final of the British & Irish Cup. We won it two years ago and Leinster won it last year. To win the competition is the main thing and Leinster are the team standing in our way.
“That’s the main priority, the history and tradition is great but the main thing is winning the game for the sake of getting to the semi-finals and that’s the main focus for us.”
Malone, who is also the Elite Player Development Manager at Munster Rugby, is happy with the side’s preparations and named a strong team earlier today with senior stars such as Paddy Butler and Billy Holland both in the starting line-up.
“We’re delighted, very happy with the squad. Most of the guys have been involved with us over the course of the British & Irish Cup campaign and we’ve got a few younger guys on the bench who’ll get their opportunity,” he explained.
“Rory Scannell, who started the first British & Irish Cup game in Bandon against Stirling, is back in at ten and it’s a big opportunity for Rory as well. It’s a strong squad, a mixture of senior guys and Academy guys.
“We had two good days, we trained on Tuesday and got a bit of prep done and we had the day to ourselves yesterday in Cork so prep is done now. The players can relax tonight and get ready for tomorrow morning and travelling up to Dublin.”