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Munster A In Action Saturday

2nd October 2014 By Munster Rugby

Munster A Head Coach Mick O’Driscoll looks ahead to this Saturday’s Interprovincial clash v Leinster in Donnybrook, gives his thoughts on this season’s B&I Cup opposition, and discusses the involvement of Doug Howlett in his backroom staff.

Munster A Head Coach Mick O’Driscoll looks ahead to this Saturday’s Interprovincial clash v Leinster in Donnybrook, gives his thoughts on this season’s B&I Cup opposition, and discusses the involvement of Doug Howlett in his backroom staff.

While Munster and Leinster will do battle in the AVIVA Stadium at 6:30pm on Saturday, earlier that afternoon just down the road in Donnybrook, the provinces respective A sides will face-off as part of the Interprovincial series at 1pm.

O’Driscoll believes the Interprovincial rivalry is just as fierce at A level, and sees Saturday’s fixture as an important learning curve for his squad, notably the newer recruits.

“Munster v Leinster at any level is a huge game. Traditionally there’s a lot at stake. Girvan Dempsey (Leinster A Head Coach), just like us, is going out to win the A Interprovincial series so it will make for a tough local derby game. It’s very important for a lot of players, especially the younger lads who get opportunities this weekend, to step up and show their worth.”

Saturday’s game is the start of a busy month for Micko’s men with the opening three pool matches of the British & Irish Cup being played across the following three weekends. Munster A open their account at home to Moseley in Clonmel RFC on Saturday October 11th (KO 3pm) followed by two away fixtures to Worcester Warriors and Nottingham respectively. The Head Coach gave us his thoughts on the opposition.

“I certainly think we’ve drawn a very tough pool, three English Championship sides who will prove very difficult. We’ll have a lot to do in preparing for the likes of Moseley, Nottingham and Worcester – a side who will have learnt a lot from their time in the English Premiership over the last number of years.

“For us a lot will depend on the availability of key players for the A side. We lost the likes of Cian Bohane at the tail end of pre-season and Ryan Foley sustained a knee injury while playing for Cork Constitution last weekend and underwent a scan yesterday (Wednesday). Any team would miss those guys but that’s the nature of professional rugby.

“However, we still have a lot of very good talent available to us in Munster and it’s a matter of bringing that through now. A big part of my role is to develop these guys and bring them through to the Munster senior side. Plenty of these guys who need game time will receive it so we’ll see what they’re made of.”

The Head Coach looks at the scheduling of some B&I Cup fixtures for the same day/weekend as the Champions Cup.

“In some ways it’s good as it gives us an opportunity to develop the young guys for whom game time is key. However, we’re facing into four consecutive weekends of tough fixtures, as are the senior side, and there’s every chance there will be injuries along the way. Injuries to the senior side will have a knock on effect on us and certain guys may be called up.

“That said, similar match schedules give us more of an opportunity to work together. Much of our training is done alongside the seniors. It’s dependent on the respective team’s schedules but weeks like this work out well as the seniors also face Leinster on the same day. That means both sides train hand in hand, training with and against each other, and also breaking away to concentrate on their own set pieces and plays. If the seniors are playing on a different day, our training schedules will be different towards the end of the week.”

O’Driscoll is also looking forward to having his former team-mate and leading try scorer for the All Blacks, Doug Howlett, as part of his backroom staff.

“It’s great to have Doug back involved. I had asked him a while back to come in and share with us some of his experiences and knowledge. Luckily Doug has agreed and comes in as a backs consultant to Greig Oliver who is there as backs coach.

“He will help develop a lot of these young guys. Having him at training has been a big boost, not just for the A's but for the senior lads as well as they get his opinion on things.

“The man’s record speaks for itself, what he’s achieved in the game has been phenomenal and he certainly has Munster Rugby at heart. He will be a great addition for us.”

Munster A face Leinster A as part of the Interprovincial series this Saturday at Donnybrook – KO 1pm.

Munster A open their B&I Cup campaign at home to Moseley on Saturday October 11th at Clonmel RFC – KO 3pm. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here while entry is free to all MRSC members and Ten Year Ticket holders (on production of your membership card or ticket book).


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