Friday 28 July 2017

Down time has us up and ready to roll again

Munster coaches (l-r) Jacques Nienaber, Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery in conversation at training in UL. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster coaches (l-r) Jacques Nienaber, Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery in conversation at training in UL. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Felix Jones

It was good to get a break last week and enjoy some well needed down-time after such a hectic block of games with European double headers, inter-provincial derbies and huge Pro12 games.

I think everyone enjoyed a few days' rest last week after our European excursions and a hugely draining period.

It was really satisfying to finish that competitive run with 12 wins in 13 games.

I took the chance to visit some family at home and headed back to Sandycove near Dun Laoghaire in Dublin, and then we went to Inchydoney Island Hotel in West Cork for a couple of days, so it was a really relaxing time in an unbelievable spot.

But it was back to business this week with all systems go at the High Performance Centre, and it was back into the normal run of it again as it would be for any other game week before an important Pro12 fixture, with Edinburgh lying in wait.

Everyone came back in on Monday and with a large contingent gone to Irish camp we just wanted to get everyone up to speed and on the same page again really.

We had a lot of guys there who hadn't played together in a few weeks, and we have got 14 guys involved in Carton House preparing for the first two games of the Six Nations.

It's a really exciting time because you get to see and coach the guys who have been on the fringes and pushing hard in training all along, but starting off you have to get them all in sync for the next block of games.

Geared

That's what the first meetings were geared towards and then the rest of the week continued as a normal game week in preparing for tonight's match.

Yesterday was our down day where the guys came in and got their rehab done, and their extra little bits and pieces. Overall preparations have gone well and I don't believe anyone takes Edinburgh at home as a soft touch, they are far from it.

They will be missing a number of internationals but they are a really strong outfit with plenty of talent more than capable to step in and stake a claim.

They are also into a European quarter-final, albeit in the Challenge Cup, but they are still fighting hard on all fronts and they have ambitions to win some silverware this season.

With it being a rescheduled game we are the only two sides in action in the Pro12 this weekend but having a game in hand on the table will count for absolutely nothing if we cannot get points against Edinburgh this evening. It's a game we really need to perform in.

From what I have seen of the Scottish club, they are hugely physical, in all of their contacts. They have the ability to stay in the fight and they don't really give up.

They fight for every collision they are involved in: they won't just hit you and let that be, they will hit you and stay in the tackle moment for as long as they can.

In terms of the Six Nations this weekend, it will be far from a straight-forward win for Ireland, with both Scottish clubs contributing talented players to the squad.

We are well used to playing Glasgow Warriors this season, and they make up the vast majority of that Scottish side.

They have players that are absolutely world class, and there are a number of Lions contenders throughout their team and I definitely feel that they are going to be a real force throughout the tournament this year.

I was reading earlier in the week about some of the Scottish players being very confident of transferring their club form into the international stage, so on the club side they are simmering very nicely. If they can transfer that over they could be a huge threat in the Six Nations.

But this is a young Ireland team that is building nicely too. I think it will be a tournament where we will see a lot of the Irish guys getting a chance to make their first impression on the international scene.

Garry Ringrose has already made an impact but there are a number of our guys in there who will hopefully be able to get a lot of exposure too, in the form of the two Scannells, and Andrew Conway.

It's a great opportunity for our guys to show their international class and it all kicks off this weekend in Scotland, for Munster and Ireland.

Irish Independent

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