Munster full-back, Mike Haley, has urged his teammates to embrace the challenge that Gloucester will provide tonight in Kingsholm in their Pool 2 Heineken Champions Cup encounter.
Johann van Graan has named a strong team for the encounter with Chris Farrell deemed fit to play following a positive scan on his knee earlier this week.
Gloucester have had their own positive injury news with the return of playmaker, Danny Cipriani, to the starting lineup following his injury to his pectoral muscle against Exeter last month.
Haley spent three years playing alongside the outhalf at Sale Sharks and is well aware of the threat he provides.
“He pulls out kicks from anywhere so you just have to be on your toes and it’s just a great challenge.”
“You go into the Champions Cup to play against the best players and see how you fare and this is going to be a great challenge.”
Munster currently sit top of Pool 2 in the Heineken Champions Cup but with Castres hot on their heels, only three points behind, the province are well aware of the pressure to secure another win. That anticipation and pressure, however, is part of what drew the Preston native to the team.
“This is the reason you join Munster, the big European weeks. We need to take this group by the scruff of its neck and away at Gloucester is no better place to go and do that.”
“It’s just a great place to go and play rugby. Definitely in England, one of the great places to go, it’s renowned for having a great crowd who are very vocal and get behind their team.”
Haley made his competitive debut for the province in September of last year and immediately made his mark in the full-back jersey. Having settled into the back three alongside Keith Earls and Andrew Conway, the 24-year-old is immensely enjoying the dynamic in the squad.
“It’s great fun. I think the best thing about it is that there’s a trust in the team.”
“Whatever goes on in the backfield, everyone gives you 100% support whether that’s, you’re going kick, you get a high ball and you’re going to run it or just pass it or whatever.”
“There’s a good understanding and boys are there for you if you need support lines or anything so yeah, it’s really enjoyable and it probably shows in the way the boys are playing at the moment.”