Monday 18 December 2017

Holland: Cork can be our fortress

Billy Holland says it's very important for Munster to be playing games at the revamped Irish Independent Park
Billy Holland says it's very important for Munster to be playing games at the revamped Irish Independent Park
Irish Independent Park played host to Ian Madigan and the Ireland Wolfhounds in January

John Fallon

Experienced Munster lock Billy Holland believes that Irish Independent Park will become a fortress for the Reds.

A new era begins tomorrow for rugby in the province when Munster play their first game at the former Musgrave Park in Cork.

Over €3.2m has been spent redeveloping the venue with a new 3,500-seater stand on the west side of the ground.

And Holland believes that the covered terrace on the east terrace is set to become a popular haunt for fans.

"I'm sure it will be called the shed, it's great, huge for Cork, we haven't had a game here for a year and we now have four to look forward to in the next couple of months.

"From our point of view, particularly the Cork fellas, we know it's very important to be getting Munster games down here. The flip side of it for us is that we need to perform and hopefully we will get a good crowd out on Saturday night.

"Hopefully we will get the win and that it will snowball from there, Munster rugby is huge down in Cork and we need the crowds, certainly from south Kerry and Waterford, it's a lot easier to get to Cork and it is one of the best pitches in Ireland, the playing surface is probably the best, most fellas think that.

"It has always been top-notch, and with the stand, a lovely new comfortable stand and with the shed, it's now turned out to be a great facility," said the 29-year old.

Holland said that it would be a great boost to start with a win on their return to Cork but he expects a big challenge from a Cardiff Blues side who they did well to defeat late in the game in Wales earlier this season.

"They don't have too many players in the Welsh set-up, they have rested a few fellas over the last few weekends playing in the LV Cup and they are a very good attacking side especially with unstructured ball; they like to throw it around.

"I think they have the highest number of guys beaten in the Pro12, so they are a difficult side to defend against and we only got a last-minute win against them over there this year and last year.

"They beat us over here two years ago so they certainly don't fear us, but we will concentrate on our own game."

Irish Independent

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