Munster embark on South African mini tour in U.R.C

Munster embark on South African mini tour in U.R.C

The excitement of European rugby is over for another year for Munster Rugby, but as the fixtures list starts to shorten, attention must now turn to the meat and two veg that is the U.R.C.

Yes, missing out on a place at the business end of the Champions Cup will sting, but it has become an all to familiar place for the Red Army in recent years as the cream once again rose to the top in their defeat to Northampton Saints two weeks ago.

It's been widely accepted that a bug ripped through the camp in advance of that round of 16 game at Franklin's Gardens with television cameras catching a glimpse of a clearly run-down Craig Casey vomiting on the pitch after the full-time whistle, and Captain Tadhg Beirne was barely able to get the words out in his post-game chat, amid fits of coughing.

Head Coach Graham Rowntree was clear in his assessment that the players needed to stand up and take responsibility for their errors, sickness aside.


“As you can hear from my man [Beirne] here, it's not been the most straightforward but we rolled our sleeves up and got on with it for a big game against a great team. I'm proud of our effort but we'll sit down and look at how we don't give away those presents.”

“We had a bit of a bug going around the group. We will regroup this week and have a look at what we're doing. I was just talking to Tadhg about what we will not do this week, rather than what we will do."

The South African away leg heralds the final five regular season games.

This Saturday's meeting with the Bulls is followed by the one-hour trip to the Lions in Ellis Park next Saturday. Then the final three games will be Connacht (H), Edinburgh (A) and Ulster (H).


Rowntree's side have their sights set on climbing every spot they can before the playoffs arrive, sitting in fourth spot ahead of meeting with the Bulls, who hold third.

A win for Munster would see them leapfrog their hosts ahead of the clash with the Lions who are hunting one of the last available playoff berths. They are 11th, but just one point outside of the quarter-final places.

While the European expedition ended prematurely for another year, Munster's form in the U.R.C has been impressive, winning their last four games (Cardiff, Ospreys, Zebre & Scarlets) on the spin.

30 players have made the trip to South Africa for the mini-tour with a handful returning to training following injury and sickness. Shane Daly, Calvin Nash, RG Snyman, Oli Jager and Fineen Wycherley have been included in the travelling group.

The team to face the Bulls will be named on Friday at midday.