Saturday 17 March 2018

Erasmus: Ireland success will lift provinces

Steve Crosbie during Munster training in the UL complex yesterday. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Steve Crosbie during Munster training in the UL complex yesterday. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Munster coach Rassie Erasmus believes that Ireland's successful November series can propel the four provinces into a period of glory

With wins over New Zealand and Australia to add to the summer triumph in South Africa, Erasmus thinks that a thriving international side can only add to the aspirations of the four provinces as they return to European action next week.

For all of the Irish teams it will be a busy few weeks ahead either side of Christmas, but Munster surely must have the most daunting of schedules ahead of them starting on Friday at Glasgow Warrior.

Then come back-to-back Champions Cup clash with Leicester, followed by inter-pros against Connacht and Leinster, before three Champions Cup games in three weeks against Racing 92 (twice) and Warriors end a stern eight weeks.

But with five wins on the bounce to fall back on, Erasmus is confident that the good feeling that the international game has generated will propel everyone forward.

"For all of us it's great, for Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Connacht, for everybody," he said. "It's good for Irish rugby, for world rugby that Australia and New Zealand have been beaten by Ireland.

" It's good for the Northern Hemisphere. Overall leading up to the 2019 World Cup those things will filter out to our level and club level.

"We have players like Jack O'Donoghue who played against Canada. He has learned a few things, he has talked to Conor Oliver about that. He talks to John Foley about that and it starts spreading and rubbing off and dreams become reality.

"It is a feelgood factor and the same for the other three Irish provinces. It's great."

Earsmus was scheduled to find out last night what players would be released to him by Joe Schmidt for Friday's game, but it is expected that none of the players that features in the win over Australia will be available.

Last weekend, O'Donoghue, John Ryan and Billy Holland featured in Munster's seven-try routing of Treviso, two weeks on from the occasion of their Ireland debuts against Canada.

All three will be available again this weekend, although Tommy O'Donnell is a slight doubt due to a dead leg.

Irish Independent

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