Munster defensive coach, Jerry Flannery has insisted that this weekend’s opponents, Ulster will not be weakened as a result of their recent trip to South Africa.
Ulster returned unbeaten from their trip to the Southern Hemisphere which saw them earn a hard-fought 39-all draw with Toyota Cheetahs following their 28-7 win over Southern Kings five days earlier.
Last season, Munster faced Racing 92 in the Champions Cup semi-final the week after returning from South Africa. It was a performance the fans have tried to forget with the 27-22 final scoreline flattering the Irish province.
Flannery doesn’t believe that Ulster will have the same problem in Thomond Park on Saturday night.
“It’s taxing. The travel out there and coming back, even just moving bases over there can be tough. It also has the benefit of the squad being together for two weeks which can make you tighter and I think Ulster will probably have fed off those couple of weeks.”
“I know that Dan McFarland will probably have been delighted to get his teeth into the players and have them just to himself for the past two weeks so I don’t think they’re going to be any weaker coming back from it.”
Munster got their campaign off to a perfect start against Toyota Cheetahs but fell to a loss to Glasgow the following week. They got back to winning ways against Ospreys in Cork but suffered another loss against Cardiff Blues last weekend with Johann van Graan’s men failing to score in the second half.
Given their staggered start to the season, the former Munster and Ireland hooker maintains that the home side are 100% focused on getting a win at the weekend, regardless of outside factors.
“There are different things to consider. It’s an Irish derby, everyone knows each other pretty well and then there’ll be players pitching towards the national so it’s almost like an Irish trial. For us, the main thing now is we need to get a result and we need to get things working again because two from four is not good enough.”
“We’d like to have a flawless home record and we’d like to improve our ability to get results away from home as well. We just have to be consistent whether we’re home or away. Obviously, it’s generally perceived that it’s easier to get results at home but we just have to win this weekend.”