Munster complete their pre-season match programme when they play London Irish at Thomond Park Stadium (7pm) that game preceded by the Munster A game with Connacht (4.15pm).
Two defeats to date represents the worst start to a season but circumstances probably contributed as Billy Holland outlines,
“I suppose we’ve been trying different things, that’s the nature of pre-season. In the game last week we turned down three points a few times, kicked to the corner instead and that’s something we probably wouldn’t do in a competitive game.” he said today after training in Cork.
“To come out with a nil is very disappointing.” he continued. “There’s not too many fellas involved in games where we haven’t scored anything.
“But we’ve been trying, different combinations, line-out wise, scrum wise things like that. That’s not making excuses but this weekend we need to deliver a much improved performance.”
Holland reverts to the second row this weekend having occupied the number 6 berth against La Rochelle and London Irish but wont be discommoded by the switch. “I don’t find the adjustment too difficult to be honest. There isn’t a huge different between second row and six.
“Obviously you’re looking to get on the ball a little bit more in the back row, be a bit more dynamic around the park. But in training we’re swopping in and out. Everyone in the pack knows two, three different positions. It’s part of the game these days.”
Competition for places is intense and Friday’s game presents the opportunity for players to put their hand up for inclusion in the opening RaboDirect PRO 12 game a week later. “Yeh big time. Nobody knows what the starting XV will be there’s so many positions up for grabs. This weekend is the last opportunity for lads to stake a claim.”
“In terms of the team itself, winning’s a habit. We’ve lost our first two games so we need to win this weekend, it’s as simple as that.”
Although Tomas O’Leary was named in the extended squad he has been omitted from the match day squad but is expected to be in contention for a place in the RaboDirect PRO 12 opener.
Munster: S Scanlon; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, D Hurley; I Keatley, D Williams; M Horan, M Sherry, S Archer; M O’Driscoll, I Nagle; B Holland, N Ronan, P O’Mahony. Replacements: D Varley, W du Preez, P Borlase, D O’Mahony, P Stringer, S Zebo, S Deasy.