Sport Rugby

Sunday 22 October 2017

Damien Varley eyes redemption on 100th Munster cap

Munster Rugby Squad Training - Tuesday 12th February...12 February 2013; Munster's Damien Varley looks on at scrum practice during squad training ahead of their Celtic League game against Scarlets on Saturday. Munster Rugby Squad Training, University of Limerick, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE...ABC
Munster Rugby Squad Training - Tuesday 12th February...12 February 2013; Munster's Damien Varley looks on at scrum practice during squad training ahead of their Celtic League game against Scarlets on Saturday. Munster Rugby Squad Training, University of Limerick, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE...ABC

John Fallon

Damien Varley is poised to hit a big milestone this weekend when he makes his 100th appearance for Munster – and the Clare man hopes to crown it with a victory.

Varley, who will be 30 next month, said that the manner of the 29-19 defeat away to Treviso last weekend, when Munster had four men binned, had stung them and they now wanted a response against Dragons on Saturday.

"We were gutted about it afterwards," said Varley. "It was a very disappointing result. We had it in our grasp when we were 10 points up, but you can't win a game when you have four guys in the sin bin.

"It was poor discipline on our part and we discussed it on the Saturday morning and addressed it and will now focus on the next few matches.

"Obviously we have to take it on the chin and regroup with a few big weeks coming up," added the hooker.

He is continuing to battle away with Mike Sherry for the No 2 shirt and the rivalry shows no sign of letting up, with coach Rob Penney constantly rotating them, but Varley said that it was a good sign that no place was guaranteed in the side.

"Mike Sherry and myself are not exempt from competition or pressure. The two of us are battling it out and I think we are making better players of each other, so we'll see what happens over the coming weeks."

Varley, a former All-Ireland League winner with Garryowen who made his Munster debut in 2006, said that the new scrum laws were a throwback to the old days.

"The purpose of the new laws was to stop the amount of collapses that happened in the last few years and I think it has certainly helped from that point of view," he said.

"Scrummaging is such a technical area that I think it will take a number of weeks for referees and teams to get used to it and overall it has been very good and we're very happy at the way our scrum has progressed.

"It has gone back to old-school hooking and that's not a bad thing for guys who like to scrummage so, yeah, it's a new skill for a lot of young guys and hopefully a strength of ours.

"There's one or two against the head in us, we've proved that over the past four weeks."

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