Archer eager to lay marker in Reds' 'bruising' Maori showdown
Munster prop Stephen Archer says he is excited by the challenge of putting his skills to the test against the ultra-talented Maori All Blacks tomorrow.
Archer said he was mightily impressed with the manner of the Maoris' win over the USA Eagles last weekend and that he is hoping that Munster can build on their own good form with another famous win over a touring side.
New Zealand and Australia have both experienced defeats at Thomond Park over the years, and after a bench role against the Wallabies in 2010, the Corkonian tighthead is keen to test himself from the start tomorrow.
"They are so skilful," he said of the Maoris. "They are like all New Zealand teams. They just do the basics so well. I haven't seen a New Zealander who can't pass the ball yet. They are, from 1-15, all good passers of the ball and well skilled.
"There is going to be a lot of running. I pride myself though on my skill-set and my ability to get around the park pretty well too. I look forward to these types of games.
"It'll be a tough game. I'm sure we will feel it on Saturday morning. I just watched a few minutes of them in the video room and there was plenty of big hits.
"We need to get ourselves ready for a bruising encounter. We have to be physical. If we don't match them physically, then we will get blown off the park."
A neck injury meant that Archer (28)has had to be satisfied with just two starts so far this season, but after last weekend's impressive victory over Ospreys he says confidence is high.
And with Ireland impressing against the senior All Blacks, twice-capped Archer wants his chance to lay down his own marker against the tourists.
"It is kind of international rugby week for us now, which is weird in itself, getting away from the normal teams you play in the Pro12 and the Champions Cup," he said.
"I am sure the Maori are also coming here to right the wrongs of last weekend too. I presume there are fellas on that squad too who are trying to put their hands up for All Black selection.
"I was watching last weekend too and I was proud to be Irish. It was an incredible achievement and it was an even better performance. I was especially delighted for the four Munster lads. They really acquitted themselves well. I was delighted for them.
"I have not played much rugby this season. Playing last weekend was good for me. It was great to get a run around and get a good chunk of time. Hopefully I can get the same this week too.
"It is a good opportunity too, you are going to be tested. We need to bring our 'A' game."