In selecting his team for Friday’s GUINNESS PRO14 showdown with Glasgow Warriors, Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has kept faith with largely the same side that has recorded three wins from three so far.
There is just one change this week with Rory Scannell set for his first start of the new season. Named at inside centre, the Ireland international will start alongside Chris Farrell for the first time.
Scannell’s fellow international, Dave Kilcoyne, has successfully rehabbed the knee injury he sustained during the recent home win over the Toyota Cheetahs and is included among the replacements.
In Munster’s past three clashes with Glasgow across all competitions, no more than three points have separated the sides. But with Munster just shading it on each occasion, the Warriors would love nothing more than to end the province’s unbeaten away run in the PRO14 – one that stretches back as far as the derby with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium last October.
One man who added to his try-scoring tally in the red jersey against the Ospreys last weekend was winger Darren Sweetnam, crossing in the 36th minute for his tenth Munster try in total. He expects the toughest of challenges at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 7.35pm).
“It’s never easy playing away, but especially over there in Glasgow. There was little or nothing in our last number of games and we’ll need to build on the momentum we’ve gathered from the three wins leading into this weekend. Obviously we know them a lot from last season, but they are under a new head coach (Dave Rennie) so that brings more of an element of the unknown,” said the 24-year-old Sweetnam.
“We’re in a good place heading into this weekend. There’s a great environment and there’s some buzz playing for this team. The way are playing at the moment is great, we are seeing a lot more ball on the wing and as a player all you want is to get the ball as often as you can.
“We did a lot of work in pre-season on handling, backs and forwards alike, and thankfully we are seeing the results of that on the pitch so far this season. The forwards have been throwing passes like you’d see out the backs and that makes such a difference when you are trying to play an expansive game.
“As a back-three that helps our game also. And with the likes of the Lions players still to come back in, the competition for places will only get fiercer, which is what you want.”
MUNSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Tyler Bleyendaal (capt), Duncan Williams; Liam O’Connor, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Sean O’Connor, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Fineen Wycherley, Robin Copeland, James Hart, Jaco Taute, Simon Zebo.