Munster set to reach for redemption, says Jones

MUNSTER return to Thomond Park tonight seeking redemption for their European exit of six days ago, according to full-back Felix Jones.

The province rounds out its Magners League regular season schedule against inter-provincial rivals Connacht this evening (7.05pm) with the luxury of having already secured a home semi-final but with last Saturday’s abject 20-12 Amlin Challenge Cup defeat by Harlequins still a painfully fresh memory.

“Obviously it’s very disappointing. We’ve got to put it to bed now,” Jones said.

“We have Connacht next and we’ve got to try and put some sort of redemption into Thomond Park and deliver a performance for ourselves and for our fans as well.

“It’s the Magners League, we’re building for the following week, which is the semi-final and hopefully for the final after that.

“The mood in the camp is that, yes, it’s disappointing what happened at the weekend but we’ve got to move on from that. We’ve got to bounce back otherwise it’s another disappointment.”

Jones, one of just four players retained by head coach Tony McGahan from last weekend’s side, will be playing just his sixth match since returning from a knee injury sustained last September.

The way the 23-year-old has dealt with his recuperation from that setback and the serious neck injury from which he had returned just prior to that has marked Jones out as a beacon of positivity within the camp and he agreed that more of the same would now be required collectively.

“I think everyone will be trying to focus on the positives now this week and try to put the negatives behind us.

“Obviously, we’ve got to address what went wrong and what didn’t work but in general we’re just focusing on ourselves and the positives that we can do.

“So, personally, yes, that’s the way I like to operate. I try to focus on the positives and address the negatives at the same time but in a positive way.”

With players set to come and go between the provinces this close season, Jones will be in the unusual position of playing against his future house-mate when Munster meet Connacht tonight.

Fly-half Ian Keatley will be playing his last game for Connacht before heading south to Limerick for next season and renewing an old friendship with Jones.

“That’s the plan,” said the full-back. “I’ve known Ian since I was young and we were playing Leinster 19s I think, so I know him well enough. We played 20s together, myself and Keith (Earls) and he’s a good fella and hopefully I’ll have a good year with him.”

Jones pointed to Keatley’s decision to leave Leinster in search of regular rugby as a sign of the fly-half’s self belief and ambition. “I think he’s an excellent player, a lot potential. He’s very good under pressure, he’s a young fella, very ambitious and I know where he sees himself going and I’d have complete faith in him that he’s going to get there.”

Picture: ACTION MAN: Munster’s Felix Jones has no intentions of allowing disappointment of Harlequins defeat to linger. Picture: Inpho/Donall Farmer


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