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Ireland caps will lift us: Flannery

Munster coach Jerry Flannery. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster coach Jerry Flannery. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Munster coach Jerry Flannery thinks the province will benefit hugely from some new players getting a taste of international rugby in recent weeks.

Darren Sweetnam and Chris Farrell made their Ireland debuts in November, while Ian Keatley, Andrew Conway, Dave Kilcoyne and John Ryan laid down huge markers in their bid to become regulars in the match-day 23.

"There is still a game to go with Ireland, but if it continues this weekend as it has, I think they will come back and bring an awful lot of positivity and energy, which we would expect from them anyway," said Flannery.

"But I think from their own personal point of view for Chris and Sweets to get their first cap is massive and to perform well as well.

"From Darren's and Chris's point of view, they have now played at a higher level than Champions Cup level, so we would expect that those guys are going to come in and have a bit more about them when they go to play. It is not going to be the highest point of their season that they will have performed at.

"They know now that they have performed well at Test level, they know that is within them as a player. You can always believe in yourself, but until you actually go out and do it on an international stage, you can't actually 100 per cent qualify yourself and say I'm good enough at international level."

Tommy O'Donnell and Keith Earls were unlucky to pick up injuries in Ireland training, while Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony also featured in green.

And it was a big occasion for CJ Stander as he captained Ireland for the first time against his native South Africa, which Flannery sees as a huge honour.

"I thought it was great," said the Munster coach. "You think of the journey that CJ is on since he has come over from South Africa, so to see him captain against South Africa is testament to his hard work. We are all very proud of him."

Irish Independent

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