Monday 26 September 2016

Hooker Scannell revelling in Munster's new defensive set-up

Declan Rooney

Published 08/09/2016 | 02:30

Munster's Niall Scannell. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Munster's Niall Scannell. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Munster hooker Niall Scannell says he is looking forward to being part of Munster's 'smashing' squad again this weekend under the watch of Jacques Nienaber.

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As part of the South African's defensive plan for Munster, the squad have been given permission to tear into the tackle with a real freedom, and Scannell is enjoying the challenge.

Scarlets were first to taste Munster's new-found ferocity, and tomorrow night Cardiff are next up at Musgrave Park. After working with Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus for the last couple of months, Scannell now knows why South African-coached players tackle with a smile on their faces.

"There's nothing hugely different technically to what we were doing last year but I suppose it's just that there's so much energy and enthusiasm and it's rewarding if you're getting off that line and trying to put shots on guys," said Scannell. "That's something you will have seen from other teams in the league with a South African coaching influence. I can see why they love smashing us so much now because Jacques really brings that excitement to it and that reward for getting off the line and making your hits.

"So technically not a huge amount, more the approach he's brought to it. It's different and exciting for us at the moment."

This week has been difficult for Scannell and his Munster team-mates following the announcement of Johnny Holland's forced retirement. Scannell says the loss of his Cork colleague is a tough one to take for everyone involved.

"Personally for me, it was probably a bit more emotional. I came through the academy with Johnny, I've known Johnny since we were 16 or 17. When you've gone through all the ups and downs with a player over the years it's tough. I just want to wish him the best of luck with whatever he does next. I know he'll be fine."

Irish Independent

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