Lineen: we must pick ourselves up for Munster

GLASGOW Warriors players have been read the riot act by head coach Sean Lineen ahead of their trip to Cork to play Munster on Saturday.

The Scottish side visit the Magners League leaders at Musgrave park on the back of a 28-17 derby defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield last Sunday.

Yet while Munster head coach Tony McGahan has stayed positive in the face of some recent setbacks, including a Heineken Cup defeat at Ospreys, a misfiring scrum, key injuries and a ban for Paul O’Connell, he will lock horns with a coach at the weekend who has felt the need to abandon his usually optimistic demeanour.

The manner of Glasgow’s failure to complete a fifth successive victory over Edinburgh last weekend, including the concession of two “incredibly soft” first-half tries, has left Lineen fuming.

“We didn’t deserve to win, we made it easy for them,” Lineen said.

“Not enough of our key players played well, our discipline was not of a professional standard, we didn’t take the chances that presented themselves and we didn’t do enough of the things that we’re good at. Yet we could still have won the game, which tells you all you need to know.

“There’ll be no time for self-pity because we’ve got to pick ourselves up and get ready for Munster.”

Back in the Munster camp, McGahan will today learn the extent of the calf injury suffered last Saturday by first-choice hooker Jerry Flannery, who underwent a scan in Limerick yesterday.

Flannery was injured at the end of the 35-10 victory over Ulster at Thomond Park as he attempted a comeback from an injury in his other calf, which broke down last October.

Munster will not be restricted by Irish management player programme requirements in selecting his squad for the Glasgow game and McGahan will be looking for a lift in performance from recent outings ahead of the must-win European clash in Toulon the following week.

Ulster will also welcome reinforcements this weekend ahead of their important home Euro tie against Biarritz on January 15.

Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris and fly-half Ian Humphreys will return to Magners League action this Friday when Ulster take on Treviso at Ravenhill in an attempt to get back on the rails following two disappointing derby defeats last week.

Ferris had been sidelined for three weeks with a buttock injury while Humphreys has been absent due to an ankle problem. Both players were included in an extended 32-man squad announced by coach Brian McLaughlin who said that a final decision will be made today on their fitness following a hard contact session yesterday.

Humphreys is certain to reclaim the number 10 jersey from Paddy Wallace while Ferris will probably ease his way back from the bench.

It will be all-change again for Ulster, who took the field in the loss to Munster with no fewer than 13 changes from the side that lost to Leinster six days earlier.

“Yes, it was very disappointing for us to lose those games. We had prepared well but it just didn’t happen for us,” said McLaughlin.

“I thought we had a great chance to defeat Munster and we were only 14-10 down going into the final 10 minutes. Unfortunately we just ran out of steam. There were a lot of players who were playing their first games for us and others just back from injury.

“There were some very good things came out of that game even though we lost. Munster just did what they do so well and punished us in the latter stages.”

McLaughlin has recalled his South African contingent, rested against Munster, with Ruan Pienaar expected to start at scrum-half despite the contribution of Paul Marshall at Thomond Park.

With no Ireland commitments, Andrew Trimble, Tom Court and skipper Rory Best will all start while Springbok BJ Botha, who was 31 yesterday, will be back in the number three jersey with Johann Muller returning at lock.

ULSTER squad v Treviso: Forwards: D Fitzpatrick, T Court, B Young, BJ Botha, J Cronin, R Best, N Brady, A Kyriacou, T Barker, D Tuohy, J Muller, R Caldwell, W Faloon, TJ Anderson, P Wannenburg, S Ferris, C Henry, R Diack; Backs: A D’Arcy, D McIlwaine, J Smith, T Seymour, S Danielli, A Trimble, L Marshall, N Spence, I Whitten, P Wallace, I Humphreys, N O’Connor, P Marshall, R Pienaar

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