Varley gets back to basics

Damien Varley’s show business aspirations will be firmly on hold at Thomond Park tomorrow night as he bids to help Munster strengthen their position atop the RaboDirect Pro12.

Varley is intent on putting a memorable night of entertainment behind him, after singing live on The Saturday Night Show, and knuckle down to the bump and grind of professional sport as Munster take on the Ospreys in a vital clash.

Whilst Varley still hankers after a Christmas number one with his rendition of Lean On Me alongside the Killaloe Ballina Gospel Choir — the proceeds going to the Pink Ribbon charity — it’s back to the coal-face tomorrow night.

“It was a great reaction, obviously it’s in aid of a great cause and I hope we can raise good money,” said Varley.

This week has been all systems go though, with total concentration on keeping Munster on course for the business end of the season come April.

With five wins from six Pro12 matches and the boost of a dogged away win at Glasgow, Varley called for a workmanlike display against a team he describes as “very difficult”.

“This is a really big weekend for us because after the first round of the Heineken Cup, we probably have proved a point, and it was a good win last week, one that we probably hadn’t fought or dogged out like that in a long time,” he said.

“It’s another top-of-the-table clash this week and, as always, the Ospreys will be coming out with all guns blazing for us. From the Glasgow clash, it is going to be a little bit different. From a forwards point of view it’s still obviously going to be very physical and they will surely be trying to run us around the park a bit.

“In parts they will be similar in style [to Glasgow] but they will likely be a bit more physical.”

Varley believes Munster are now in a better place than last season, based on what’s happening behind the scenes.

“We’re probably now in a more comfortable position as to a skill point of view, we’re a lot more capable of doing what we want to do and that, coupled with the physicality and a good solid set piece which we have this season, means we can marry the two and put a good foot forward, so yes, we’re happy with where we are.”

His personal battle with Mike Sherry continues to intrigue, with neither man being able to force the coach Rob Penney’s hand one way or another.

“There is a lot of competition between myself and Mike and it has been rotated over the last number of weeks; I’m obviously backing myself and Mike is backing himself, but I am happy with my performances so far and my contribution to the last number of weeks. I will keep doing that and it is up to the coaches to pick who they want to.”


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