Monday 26 September 2016

Scannell revelling in extended run in No 12 jersey

Published 13/02/2016 | 02:30

Rory Scannell (SPORTSFILE)
Rory Scannell (SPORTSFILE)

These are busy times in the Scannell household. With eldest brother Rory commanding a regular place in Munster's starting XV, his younger brother Niall continues to impress while the youngest of the three, Billy, is preparing for a Senior Cup semi-final with Presentation College Cork.

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Having signed a senior contract last December, Rory is very much at the forefront of Munster's plans.

Many had expected Scannell to end up as an out-half and although he is capable of slotting into the No 10 jersey, he has formed a decent midfield partnership with former All Black Francis Saili.

Munster take on the Ospreys in Cork tomorrow and Scannell will again start at inside-centre, with Niall eager to make an impression from the bench.

"It's a big honour for the family," Rory said. "It's not really strange for the two of us because we played with each other in schools and for Dolphin and the 'A' team for the last number of years.

"It's great for us both to be getting a good number of games under our belts this year and learning a lot. We'd be in each other's ears a bit out on the pitch but we're well used to that."

Scannell's European debut arrived earlier in the season at home to Treviso and he has gone from strength to strength, making the No 12 jersey his own.

"I've played quite a bit at 10 and 12 over the last couple of seasons," he said.

Consistent

"No 12 is probably my preferred position really. I've been playing there for the last six or seven weeks which is great. It's great to get a bit of consistent game time there.

"Having played a lot at 10 as well, it's a great mix to my game in terms of having that extra kicking option and distribution as well as making the hard yards up the middle."

Anthony Foley has made four changes in total to the side that beat Zebre last time out with Ireland front-rows Dave Kilcoyne and Mike Sherry returning.

Dave O'Callaghan makes his first start since recovering from an adductor injury at openside while Duncan Williams replaces Tomas O'Leary, who drops to the bench.

Munster have lost their last two home league games, and although they were played at Thomond Park rather tan Irish Independent Park, Scannell is expecting a response from his side in Cork.

"They're hot on our heels in the league table so they'll be looking to close the gap.

"Every game from now on in the league is nearly like a cup final because it's so tight at the top. Both sides have quite a few internationals away but there's still some great players there."

Verdict: Munster

Munster - A Conway; D Sweetnam, F Saili, R Scannell, R O'Mahony; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, J Ryan; D Foley, M Chisholm; B Holland (capt), D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue. Reps: N Scannell, P McCabe, M Sagario, R Copeland, S Buckley, T O'Leary, C Bohane, D Johnston.

Ospreys - D Evans; T Grabham, JJ Engelbrecht, J Matavesi, B John; S Davies, B Leonard (capt); N Smith, S Parry, D Arhip; R Bernardo, R Thornton; J Bearnman, S Underhill, D Baker. Reps: S Otten, G Thomas, M Fia, A Beard, O Cracknell, O Watkin, T Habberfield.

REF - L Hodges (WRU)

Munster v Ospreys, Live, TG4, tomorrow, 5.00pm

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