Rory Scannell: ‘Not making squad was disappointingbut I have to take that on the chin’

Munster centre Rory Scannell is aiming to ‘put his hand up’ for the Six Nations squad after failing to find a place in Joe Schmidt’s selections for the November Internationals.

Scannell, who turns 24 next month admitted: “Not making the squad was very disappointing but I have to take that on the chin and move on. It was great to see the likes of Chris (Farrell) getting his first cap on Saturday, Darren Sweetnam’s going very well and Andrew Conway has stepped in there and has done very well. It’s great to see those guys getting their chance”.

Rory revealed that Schmidt has been in touch. “He said I’ve been doing quite well with just a few things to work on, passing, defensive reads and stuff. He said the other guys are going well also and you have to respect that. He is having a look at a few different combinations as well as you can see over the last two weeks. I’ll be doing my best to put my hand up going into the Six Nations.”

Munster, minus their international frontliners, face Zebre in Parma on Sunday and Scannell preaches a word of caution.

“It is always a tough place to go. Two years ago, we just scraped a win and you can see this year that it’s a completely different side. Defensively they are much more aggressive and their attacking game has improved massively as well. They had a great win against Ulster and they beat the Kings. It’s our away form we’re concentrating on as we’ve lost three but we’re looking to rectify that this week”. Rory doesn’t feel any apprehension from changes at the helm with Rassie Erasmus replaced by Johann van Graan.

“I don’t think a whole lot is going to change in terms of our game plan,” he says. “Our schedule may have a few tweaks here and there over the next few weeks. Yeah, it’s a strange one. We wouldn’t generally change coach in the middle of a season but we’ve known about it now for a couple of months so we’ve braced ourselves. It’s great that Jerry (Flannery) and Felix (Jones) have been here the whole time so hopefully, that will make the transition smoother. Johann is very experienced and knowledgeable as a coach. As a squad and as players, we’ll be looking to improve.

“I don’t think it matters that he has never been a head coach. He took on a lot of responsibility in coaching with the Springboks and he was there for six years and I think he did nine years with a very successful Bulls side so he has had a lot of experience.

“I think the time comes in a coach’s career where he’s ready to move on to the next stage and I’m sure he’s very excited about that”.



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