Munster’s impressive away B&I Cup victory over Rotherham Titans will mean nothing unless there is a performance of even higher quality at Musgrave Park this evening (6.30pm), according to Mike Prendergast.
The defence coach was delighted with a “very positive” display in Rotherham last week by a relatively inexperienced side, but he figures there is still room for improvement.
Munster won the game against the odds and did so impressively as they ran out 36-21 winners. Head coach Ian Costello has made four changes in personnel, with Sean Dougall and Barry O’Mahony returning from injury to fill two of the back row places and both JJ Hanrahan and Ronan O’Mahony coming into the backline.
It is a timely return for Dougall, who joined Munster from the Titans at the start of the season and he enjoyed a very positive early career with the province until sustaining a knee injury.
The one injury victim from last week is Denis Hurley which has led to Johne Murphy switching from wing to full back, thus allowing O’Mahony join his flanker brother in the side. Unbeaten Munster lead the pool with four points to spare over Rotherham, but Prendergast insists there must be an improvement from last week, saying: “There were aspects of the performance from last week we weren’t happy with. The aim is to improve on that and that is the mindset we are taking into this game.”
Titans Head Coach Alex Codling has made seven changes from last week with a view to all-out attack: “We’ve lost our control of the pool and we are going over to Cork to give it a real go. We’ve selected a strong side and our aim is to be adventurous in our approach.
“We know Munster are a very good side and as holders of the trophy they are keen to retain it. However, there’s no pressure on us at all now because no one outside of our camp believes we can go there and get the result; however, it won’t be for a lack of effort if we don’t.”
MUNSTER: J Murphy; L O’Dea, D Barnes, I Dineen, R O’Mahony; JJ Hanrahan, C Sheridan; J Cronin, S Henry (capt), J Ryan; D Foley, I Nagle; B Hayes, S Dougall, B O’Mahony.
Replacements: D Casey, A Cotter, P Donnellan, R Murphy, B Slater, S Deasy, D Moroney.
ROTHERHAM TITANS: F Mulchrone, P Homan, E Sheridan, L Blackett (capt.), J Gill, J McKinney, C Mulchrone; J Kilbane, T Stagg, R Davies, T Freeman, D Sanderson, A Rieder, L Makaafi, R Pitman.
Replacements: G Denman, S Cahill, B Thomas, J Ellyatt, G Law, M Doneghan, J Williams.
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