Time to recharge for a big finish
Published 11/03/2016 | 02:30
Munster coach Anthony Foley says they have been making the most of not having a match this weekend by cranking up their preparations for the trip to Cardiff next Friday.
That game will be Munster's final trip abroad for this campaign in the regulation Pro12 season but Foley will, of course, be hoping that there is at least one trip after that, ideally to Edinburgh for the final on May 28.
Munster have six games left in the scheduled season to make that happen and go one better than last year when they finished runners-up to Glasgow Warriors.
The absence of a game this weekend has allowed Munster to regroup and they will be one of just four teams returning to action next weekend when they take on Cardiff Blues in a game which was rescheduled to facilitate the change to the European fixtures.
That will be the first of six games in eight weeks for Munster, the only breaks coming on the weekends when the quarter-finals and semi-finals take place in Europe.
Those dates have, of course, been memorable occasions for Munster fans down the years but the sole focus now is securing a Champions Cup spot and a semi-final place in the Pro12.
After the Cardiff game, Munster will entertain Zebre at Thomond Park, and the following week they travel to play old rivals Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.
Then there will be a break before they travel to play a Connacht side who will be coming off their Challenge Cup quarter-final at Grenoble.
Munster will be at home in their final two games against Edinburgh and Scarlets but Foley knows that having a game in hand over most of their rivals counts for little unless they get a result next week.
"Most teams have a couple of weeks off and there are a few teams who have to catch up on a few fixtures but we were looking forward to having a week without a game and refocus and recharge some of the bodies. You'd prefer to have points on the board rather than games in hand." said Foley.