Johann van Graan is under no illusions about the size of the task facing Munster in Treviso on Friday night, but he will nevertheless dig deep into his squad as the Reds bid to keep pace in the race for a Guinness PRO14 home semi final.
It will be Sunday evening before we know for sure which two of the four sides left standing in this season’s Champions Cup got their preparations spot on for the semi-finals, but at this juncture it would be a surprise, notwithstanding they are playing in France, if Munster isn’t one of them.
Tommy O’Donnell and Rory Scannell were the latest Munster players to check into the province’s treatment room as head coach Johann van Graan admitted both Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway have only 50/50 chances of facing Toulon next Saturday.
Jordan Larmour’s spectacular solo, counter-attacking try against Munster on St Stephen’s Day may have catapulted the rising Leinster star into the nation’s consciousness but it came as no surprise to the opposition coach that night, Felix Jones.
Munster’s visit to Welford Road was always going to prove the most challenging of the reverse fixtures against a clearly hurting trio of Aviva Premiership clubs after their Champions Cup whitewash by the Irish provinces last weekend, writes
Alex Wootton needs no encouragement to grab his chance to impress Munster’s new head coach Johann van Graan and if he continues his current try-scoring run, he will soon find himself in pole position for a Champions Cup wing berth.
Munster coach Rassie Erasmus has warned against reading too much into the province’s eight try-rout of his native Toyota Cheetahs in a hopelessly one-sided Guinness PRO14 game at Thomond Park on Saturday.
There will be more searching examinations this season of Munster’s Guinness PRO14 title credentials than those posed by Benetton Rugby last Friday in Cork but as opening-night performances go, there was much from which Rassie Erasmus could take pleasure.