Bortolami: We have Reds in our sights
Italian international Marco Bortolami has warned Munster that Zebre are targeting them as they go in search of a first victory in their history.
Munster will spend the next week in Italy, taking on Zebre this evening and then playing Treviso next week. In between, the Reds will travel from Parma to Lake Garda tomorrow and stay at a sports complex there until Wednesday.
Coach Rob Penney said that the early-season camp will be a great opportunity to work with the squad, but the primary task was to achieve victories against Zebre and Treviso and build on their encouraging opening weekend win over Edinburgh.
But the Zebre skipper has insisted that his side will be extra keen to get off the mark after their opening-day defeat away to Connacht, when they were unlucky not to secure a losing bonus point.
"At the end of last season we were very competitive and in a position to win the last four or five games. The challenge for us is to carry that form into this year.
"As captain, I need us to focus on our performance – if we perform well the winning will be there. We have to make sure we do the right things at the right time and we'll get the reward," said experienced second-row Bortolami.
And Zebre head coach Andrea Cavinato has also issued a rallying cry to his side to attack Munster from the off in this evening's game in Parma (6.30 Irish time).
Cavinato, who has taken over from Roberto Manghi at the helm this season, lamented his side falling just short of Pat Lam's men and insisted he'll do everything in his power to ensure it won't happen again today.
"We were too cautious in attack, giving Connacht too many points without showing the intensity needed to score. For example, for their first try we defended well, only to lose our own line-out," he said.
Munster coach Penney said he expects nothing easy on their double date in Italy, saying: "We aren't looking beyond the Zebre game because we know how tough it will be and how anxious they will be to perform at their own ground."