With Munster’s first match of the all-new GUINNESS PRO14 taking place in Cork this Friday, the province’s players and coaches continue preparations for the challenge of Benetton Rugby at the High Performance Centre in UL today.
On the injury front, following last Thursday’s pre-season win away to Worcester Warriors, Gerbrandt Grobler is to undergo a scan for the knock he received to his ankle, while try scorer Tommy O’Donnell is following the return-to-play protocols.
Having met with a specialist, it has been confirmed that Conor Oliver will undergo surgery this week for the shoulder injury he sustained in pre-season. There was better news for Robin Copeland (shoulder) and Kevin O’Byrne (groin), both of whom will return to full training this week.
JJ Hanrahan (shoulder), Sam Arnold (calf), Duncan Casey (groin), Ronan O’Mahony (fibula), Dave O’Callaghan (knee) and Darren O’Shea (shoulder) continue to follow their respective programmes.
Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will name his team to face Benetton Rugby at midday on Thursday. With the province looking to lay down a marker for the season ahead, start this weekend by cheering on Munster under the floodlights at Irish Independent Park on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm). Tickets – junior €;7, adult €;20, family €;40 – can be purchased online here, or at the ground on the night.
Looking forward to kicking off the new season at home, Erasmus said: “We are ticking all the boxes on the things that we want to work on. We can probably set targets this year, last year was about having a good go and seeing where we end up.
“Maximising potential was the buzzword last year, by doing that you take a great deal of pressure off yourself. There are so many great coaches and quality players here at Munster that the target would be to win trophies.
“Any team going into the second year with the same squad would be saying, ‘look now we are trying to win silverware’. That doesn’t make it easier but the goals will immediately shift to that way of thinking. Then you have to back it up on the field.”