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Mike Prendergast is confident that Munster will adapt if they lose players to Ireland for a tour of South Africa for the season ahead.

The Irish Independent have reported that the IRFU are considering sending a squad made up of players on the fringes of the Ireland squad to South Africa for three games in late September and early October.

If it goes ahead, the provinces will be without some of their better players for several rounds of the URC, as Andy Farrell is supposedly hoping to acclimatise younger and inexperienced players to the Ireland set-up.

Munster attack coach Mike Prendergast was speaking at a press conference ahead of the province’s pre-season friendly against London Irish and was largely unconcerned about the prospect of Ireland’s mini-tour.

Mike Prendergast on Ireland’s proposed mini tour.

“There have been challenges thrown at us over the last number of years with Covid and everything,” Prendergast said, via RTE.

“We’ve just got to react and play what’s in front of us. I don’t think it’s been fully confirmed about the tour. If it does, we’ll look, plan and adapt.

“That’s one of the reasons we brought big numbers [into training] at the start, it’s for certain things that will happen during the year. We’ve got to be prepared from long and medium to short-term.

“Andy [Farrell] and the IRFU have their plan. He’s trying to add layers towards the World Cup and that’s understandable. We’ll adapt to it, absolutely.”

The tour has raised eyebrows.

While it is understandable that Farrell would like more time with players who could be included in Ireland’s Rugby World Cup squad next year, the proposed tour is less than ideal for the provinces.

If the tour goes ahead, those involved with likely miss at least three rounds of URC action, which could prove to be damaging to the provinces’ title ambitions with the tournament more competitive than ever.

The quality of opposition on the tour won’t be of the highest standard either, as a second-string Ireland squad are expected to face the Cheetahs, Pumas and Griquas, all of whom play in the domestic South African Currie Cup.

South Africa’s best home-based players all play for one of the four URC sides, except for the Cheetahs’ Francois Steyn, so it could certainly be argued that Ireland’s fringe players would face better opposition if they stay with their provinces.

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