Chris Farrell says Munster face a “huge task” in their United Rugby Championship quarter-final when he faces his old side Ulster in Ravenhill on Friday week.
Johann van Graan’s side were beaten 35-25 by Leinster at the weekend, finishing the regular season in sixth place. The defeat saw Munster miss out on a home quarter-final, as they hope to win their first championship since 2011.
Ulster finished the regular season in third, overcoming the Sharks by three points on Friday night. Although Munster have beaten Ulster twice this season, Farrell expects a difficult night at Ravenhill.
“Going up to Ulster has been really difficult for us,” said Farrell, speaking to the media on Tuesday.
“We won up there this year but had not won since 2016 before that. It's a huge task. We can take a little confidence from it, but it doesn't mean a huge amount going into knockout rugby. It's going to be a huge night.”
Farrell also reflected on Saturday’s defeat to a second-string Leinster side. First-half tries by Jack O’Donoghue and Mike Haley dragged the visitors back into the contest. Conor Murray touched down to put Munster ahead after the break, but Leinster fought back. A superb try by Rory O’Loughlin put the champions back in front, before two kicks from Ross Byrne sealed the ten-point win.
“We had a pretty honest assessment of how things went,” Farrell said.
“We weren't on it from the start and were beaten physically in certain areas. We probably got bullied a little bit in the first ten minutes and it set the tone for the rest of the game.”
“Going in, we knew what to expect. We didn't act like that when it came to the game. Hopefully we’ve taken some learnings. We feel like we've learned from it.”
Munster will have to put the result behind them and focus on the trip to Belfast next week. After finishing runners up in 2020, Ulster have enjoyed a positive season to date registering 12 wins in the URC, including an impressive victory against Leinster at the RDS.
“Ulster are a complete team,” said Farrell.
“They're line-out stands out. They score a lot of points from that. Their maul is also dangerous. Rob Herring has scored a number of times against us. They have talented young backs too, who have broken onto the international stage.”