Saturday 29 April 2017

O'Mahony back to help Reds handle Glasgow backlash

Rassie Erasmus welcomes Peter O'Mahony back into his starting XV for tonight's trip to Glasgow Photo: Diarmuid Greene/SPORTSFILE
Rassie Erasmus welcomes Peter O'Mahony back into his starting XV for tonight's trip to Glasgow Photo: Diarmuid Greene/SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Come the end of the season, Munster may well look back at their first meeting with Glasgow as the turning point of their campaign.

While tonight's clash in Scotstoun will not scale the emotional heights of what was seen in Thomond Park last month, there is nevertheless plenty at stake.

Not least Munster's winning streak, which has stretched to five games since their 14 men saw off the Scottish side in a pulsating contest, a day after Anthony Foley's funeral.

Foley's untimely death has stirred something within the group of players that he worked so tirelessly with and they are finally playing the way their former head coach wanted.

Glasgow were utterly stunned that afternoon in Limerick and who could blame them? Gregor Townsend's men are yet to find their really feet this season, which is ominous for the rest of the league, given that they are just seven points off the leaders, whom they face this evening.

The international window disrupted Glasgow's momentum but Munster have had no such problems as they won every game they played in November.

Impressive

It's been an impressive run of form from Rassie Erasmus' side and there is a feeling that something special is again brewing down south. The South African director of rugby has already made a big impact in his short time with the province but no-one is getting carried away just yet.

Last month's meeting between the two sides will still be fresh in everyone's minds and Niall Scannell has warned that Munster are likely to face a backlash in Glasgow tonight.

"Scotstoun, in general, is just a very hard place to go and I think every opposition team knows that," the 24-year old hooker said.

"It was a very emotional occasion last time out and fair play to Glasgow that day, they played their part and were very respectful of what we were going through.

"It was a very tough and physical game and we were just delighted to come out the right side of that against a very tough Glasgow team. But that was just one game, and to do that three more times is no easy feat.

"We've been through a few difficult things this year and I suppose it's brought us closer together. We're enjoying that, enjoying the results and enjoying playing the way we want to play. But that doesn't count for anything unless going into this crucial block we carry that momentum forward.

"And we'll need all the momentum we can get - after this weekend it's Leicester Tigers back to back before we face Leinster and Connacht in inter-provincial derbies, and then it's straight back into Europe."

Erasmus has welcomed Peter O'Mahony back into his starting XV and is expecting his skipper to be playing with a chip on his shoulder after the frustrating November he endured with Ireland.

Tommy O'Donnell will make his 100th Pro12 appearance in the back-row alongside O'Mahony while scrum-half Te Aihe Toma could make his competitive debut for the province from the bench.

There is a renewed toughness in this Munster side and although that will be tested, they will be quietly confident of backing up that unforgettable win over Glasgow last month.

Verdict: Munster

Glasgow Warriors - P Murchie; R Hughes, N Grigg, M Bennett, T Seymour; P Horne, A Price; G Reid, F Brown, S Puafisi; T Swinson, R Harley; J Strauss, C Fusaro, R Wilson (capt). Reps: C Flynn, A Allan, D Rae, R McAlpine, L Haupeakui, N Kenatale, R Clegg, L Jones.

Munster - A Conway; D Sweetnam, J Taute, R Scannell, R O'Mahony; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan; J Kleyn, B Holland; P O'Mahony (capt), T O'Donnell, J O'Donoghue. Reps: R Marshall, T du Toit, S Archer, D Ryan, R Copeland, T Aihe Toma, D Goggin, A Wootton.

REF - N Owens (WRU)

Glasgow Warriors v Munster, Live, TG4, 7.35

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