Munster coach Colm McMahon is confident South Africans CJ Stander and Gerhard Van Den Heever will play key roles when they take on powerful opposition in the inaugural Limerick World Club 7s at Thomond Park on August 9-10.
The tournament was launched in King John’s Castle last night and attended by a number of prominent rugby and civic personalities. It gets underway on the opening day with a full schedule of 14 minute matches along with entertainment running throughout from 11.30am to 6.45pm.
The various qualifiers go through to the final stages on the following day with a six-hour programme of games likely to whet the appetites of rugby fans unaccustomed to watching the abbreviated version of Rugby Union.
Apart from South Africans Stander and Van Den Heever, Munster will also include a number of other speedsters such as Ronan O’Mahony and Luke O’Dea in their ranks but it remains to be seen if even they can cope with the kind of opposition who have consistently made their mark at sevens with many of their players having already set their sights on representing their countries in the Olympic Games in two years’ time.
Munster have been drawn in Pool C along with Fiji’s Daveta in the last match of day one. In the same pool the USA meet Russia while San Francisco take on Moscow. In Pool A areAuckland of New Zealand, South Africa’s Blue Bulls, New York City and the Saracens of England.
Australia’s Waratahs, coached by Michael Cheika who masterminded Leinster’s Heineken Cup triumph in 2009, are drawn with South Africa’s Western Province, Vancouver and Stade Francais.
“Obviously Munster are really up against it but it’s the kind of challenge we relish and while I have yet to finalise the situation with head coach Anthony Foley, we are confident we will put out a side that will test the best and get the crowd on our side,” said Colm McMahon, whose pace and ability to play both at wing-forward and wing threequarter made him an invaluable member of the Irish side that competed in the famous Dubai and Hong Kong Sevens in 2001.
“My memory of Dubai and Hong Kong is the sense of colour, cheer leaders and crazy costumes commonplace ... dressing up at 7s festivals is actively encouraged and I understand much of the same is planned for Thomond Park and should make for great fun.”
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