Tuesday 21 November 2017

Malone: Pro12 exposure has 'A' team firing on all cylinders

Munster coach Peter Malone
Munster coach Peter Malone

Declan Kidney

Munster 'A' coach Peter Malone is confident his side can move to the top of their B&I Cup pool with victory over Nottingham at St Mary's RFC in Limerick tonight (7.30).

Munster A are joint top of Pool 4, level on points with Plymouth Albion, with a scoring difference of five points separating the sides.

But a win tonight will keep the province in the hunt for a quarter-final slot ahead of next week's final game against Stirling County.

And Malone expects it to be a special night for St Mary's RFC, who will host their first Munster A game since the redevelopment of the Grove Island venue.

"It will be great, I am really looking forward to going there," said Malone. "The experience has been great, going around to all the venues in Bandon and Waterford.

"St Mary's is a good, traditional parish club and they have nice facilities. It's a nice, closed-in ground as well so there should be a good atmosphere there, with the crowd right in on top of the pitch.

CONFIDENT

"I've played in Mary's a few times and there hasn't been massive crowds, but they let you know that they are there.

"It will suit us, a Friday night game in Limerick. It's a great opportunity for St Mary's to showcase their club."

Malone will have to plan without some of his regulars who have stepped up to the senior team for the Heineken Cup, but he is confident his side have what it takes to test Nottingham, especially after many of them got good game time for the first team over the Christmas period.

"You've seen the value of the A team in the last few weeks with the two hookers stepping up. Duncan Casey and Niall Scannell were dropped into Pro12 games and they are very comfortable," he said.

"That's part of the purpose of the A team, we are one squad with two teams, they play a similar way and when they get the call-up they are all comfortable.

"Because of the rotation policy there are plenty of lads that have played Pro12 and with the As. There is a bit of a seamless mix there between the two teams."

Irish Independent

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