Players now trying get back to ‘normal’ business, says Rassie Erasmus

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, his staff, and his players have been working hard at UL over the last few days trying to return things to as close to normality as possible following the tragic and heartfelt loss of head coach Anthony Foley.

Players now trying get back to ‘normal’ business, says Rassie Erasmus

Erasmus pointed out that “it’s certainly not as difficult as it is for Olive and the kids and the family. How tough it was for us is really irrelevant. It’s for us to be able to go and perform. I think different management members, players, and coaches will handle it differently.

“For some the reality comes back in different stages... in the changing room, in the coach’s meeting room. So I think it will take a good while for different guys to handle it differently and while this is a hard thing to say, I think it will hit us continuously at different time periods.”

Reflecting on last week’s game, Erasmus said: “The pressure on us was not the result but to put on a good performance. That was immense because of the respect we had for Anthony and after that you come back on Monday and things must go on but you can’t go on because he’s not here. There were so many things happening last week and now the game is played and guys must try to get back into a normal week.

“I always knew this team had it in them to create this kind of result but with the situation and occasion we were in, I wasn’t sure that was the week. But yeah, with the quality of the opposition, it was a bit of a surprise to me. Certainly we are proud Munstermen and proud to have been a friend of Anthony.”

But rugby life goes on and Munster are now preparing for the PRO12 clash with Ulster at Ravenhill tomorrow. While Munster are happy Keith Earls’ suspension for his red card last week has been restricted to two weeks, they accept that (as with the other three provinces) they will be without some of their international contingent for this game. And, as always, they also have injury problems.

“Duncan Casey’s knee looks like he will be out for a long period, maybe eight to 12 weeks,” reported Erasmus. “Sam Arnold and Andrew Conway are available this week, Jean Kleyn and Dave Foley after the Maori game.”

With Conor Murray unavailable for the next month or so, Tomás O’Leary on loan at Montpellier, and Cathal Sheridan laid low by a broken leg, it appears Munster could be badly stuck at scrum-half.

“Or it could be an opportunity for club players to put up their hands,” said Erasmus.

“We are building over the next three years to be always competitive. Tomás O’Leary had the chance of what looks like proper game time at Montpellier and we granted him that. We’ve had club players training with us, people like John Poland from the academy, Abrie Griesel of Young Munster has been training with us, and Conor Murray and Duncan Williams are really playing well.”

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