Tuesday 14 August 2018

Saili excited as link-up with Scannell takes centre stage

Adidas ambassador Francis Saili is excited to link up with Rory Scannell. Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Adidas ambassador Francis Saili is excited to link up with Rory Scannell. Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
David Kelly

David Kelly

Francis Saili is determined to forge a lasting midfield partnership with emerging home-grown star Rory Scannell and build upon a promising conclusion to a disappointing season for the men in red.

The New Zealander was fingered by many as one of the contributing factors to the province's inability to prosper under Anthony Foley's leadership.

But the outrageously talented centre is determined to persuade supporters that there is more to come from him as a new coaching regime settles into their new full-time Limerick base.

"It was frustrating to be honest," he says when asked to reflect on another grim season for the two-time European champions.

"We knew it was a bad year for us and we will take all the learning curves from that. We're not now looking on last season though, only to this season."


However, the burgeoning partnership with Scannell, forged in the immediate absence of Denis Hurley, offered occasional glimpses of light as Saili attempted, often in vain, to adapt to life in the northern hemisphere.

"Yeah, we bounced off one another and hopefully we can carry that on into this season," he says.

"He is a very talented player and I guess I would be delighted to help him carry on that form into the new season.

"The reason why our combination got better as the season went on was because we played more and more together.

"You won't know for at least a good ten weeks when you're playing alongside each other as to how things can progress.

"I feel he has now got to the stage where he can bring something different to the game because he is a first five-eighth with the skill-set.

"And the interesting thing is that he can defend as well as having the distribution skills.

"I came into pre-season last year and it was a bit difficult because I had been playing the New Zealand style.

"But the new staff in now have a good energy about it, a good passion about it and the best thing is there is a lot of clarity as to what is wanted.

"We'll see what happens in the first game."

Irish Independent

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