Saturday 18 November 2017

Jaco Taute extends stay to keep Munster in good fettle

Munster's Jaco Taute during squad training at the University of Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster's Jaco Taute during squad training at the University of Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Munster today expect to confirm the retention of Jaco Taute on a short-term deal until the end of the season as they enter a run of three successive Champions Cup games which will define their European season.

Taute was an unused replacement on Saturday - Munster officials appear to have subtly hinted by his number 23 that he was covering the back three as well as centre, all of which will satisfy the IRFU, at least, as they prepare to rubberstamp the stop-gap arrangement.

All the while Pat Lam's Connacht continue to scramble for fit players - last week, they signed John Andress, a prop who retired from professional rugby without playing a game for his last employers, Munster.

"We're looking, but they've got to be Irish-qualified," said Lam. "We're looking at all options to get reinforcements, because some of the injuries we have are long-term, more than six weeks."

Munster's first-choice 15 has been unchanged in all three of their European games so far and Rassie Erasmus indicated that some of Saturday's winners may have put their hands up for selection over the next three weeks.

Continuity

"I will have a good look at individual performances," said Erasmus, after the gritty 16-9 win maintained his side's leadership of the Guinness Pro12, as well as ending a two-year losing run in Galway.

"The toughest thing is to break continuity and combinations but then if a guy really plays so well and is knocking down the door it would be stupid not to give a guy like that a chance.

"Currently as coaches, we are playing with a few ideas in our head. There are guys that performed so well that you can't ignore them, but on the other hand it's another big game next week and players have done well for us.

"There is certainly a lot of potential but we will still make a lot of mistakes with these young guys.

"In the next two or three years if we trim down our squad and get some of the guys who are not performing out of the system, and start boosting some of these young guys I think that's the way we go."

This promises to be another emotional week too as Munster return to Paris for a game that was postponed following the untimely death of Anthony Foley in October.

"He's every week in our thoughts. Of course we're playing Racing. We're building game-plans and sometimes targets around Axel.

"Next week will be an emotional week but we've had a few emotional weeks so hopefully we'll be able to channel it in the right direction."

Irish Independent

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