‘It can’t happen again’ – Graham Rowntree confident Munster can bounce back against the Sharks

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree and attack coach Mike Prendergast during a Munster Rugby squad training session at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

Munster have been boosted by the return of Antoine Frisch ahead of the squad’s departure to Durban for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup knockout clash with the Sharks.

The influential centre missed last week’s costly home defeat to Glasgow due to a low-grade leg injury, but Frisch has returned to take his place in Munster’s 28-man travelling squad.

Niall Scannell (shoulder) has also returned to full team training and has been selected in the travelling group, who will arrive in South Africa tomorrow evening.

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree is confident his players will bounce back from the loss to Glasgow.

“As I said Saturday night, there's things we did in that first half in particular, it's not us,” Rowntree said.

“We made life too easy for Glasgow. And let me just say, I thought they were exceptional the way they played the game, the way they attacked us, the way they dealt with our breakdown.

“There's things we looked at on review, crikey we had a long, very honest review. We're an honest bunch of lads here and we looked at individual errors, system errors, and we talked about it, because it can't happen again.”

With Frisch and Scannell both available, Munster supporters will also be encouraged to hear that Rowntree believes RG Snyman is nearing closer to making his first start since his return from back-to-back ACL injuries.

Snyman is in the mix to get the nod to face plenty of his Springbok team-mates this weekend.

“Oh he's getting better,” Rowntree said.

“The way our game has changed since he last played for us, he's had to get up to speed obviously coming back from injury, and he's a huge man.

“That engine needs a bit of fine-tuning, but he's getting there. From what I've seen in our training data and what I'm seeing with my eyes, he's certainly getting fitter and fitter.

“He'll able to give us a bit of an insight into their (Sharks) psyche.”

As Munster bid to win a Champions Cup knockout game in South Africa for the first time, Rowntree believes his side are well-primed for what will be a tough challenge in warm conditions.

"I'll get a reaction, the guys are honest, the guys were very down afterwards, as they should be,” the Munster boss added.

“I was down afterwards, but the beauty of this sport is you have another huge challenge just around the corner, so you've got to deal with it. The pictures are undeniable, some of the pictures, you just have to show them. I don't have to shame them, they know.

“We've just done a good training session, and we're in good nick, we get on the plane tonight looking forward to a massive challenge.

“In this competition, this club, these games away from home... this is why you do it. What a memory this will be, if we get this one right at the weekend.”

Returning Ireland internationals Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray have also been included in Munster’s squad for the trip to Durban.

Munster Travelling Squad

Forwards: Dave Kilcoyne, Josh Wycherley; Diarmuid Barron, Scott Buckley, Niall Scannell; Stephen Archer, Keynan Knox, Roman Salanoa; Jean Kleyn, RG Snyman, Fineen Wycherley; Gavin Coombes, John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen, Jack O’Donoghue, Peter O’Mahony.

Backs: Craig Casey, Conor Murray, Paddy Patterson; Joey Carbery, Jack Crowley, Ben Healy; Malakai Fekitoa, Antoine Frisch; Shane Daly, Mike Haley, Calvin Nash, Simon Zebo.