Friday 20 April 2018

Walsh demands explosive start

Brian Walsh (in red, centre) is hoping Munster can get off to a good start
Brian Walsh (in red, centre) is hoping Munster can get off to a good start

John Fallon

Munster will wrap up their pre-season campaign this evening at Irish Independent Park in Cork when they take on London Irish (7.0).

And Munster, having been beaten in their other two pre-season games by Grenoble and Connacht, will be hoping for a good performance and victory as they prepare for battle next week.

And with four of their opening six games at home between now and the end of October, assistant coach Brian Walsh said it was vital to hit the ground running.

"Everyone wants to get off to a good start. It is a hard league to catch up in because it is so competitive. I think it was more competitive last year than it had been for a number of years prior to that.

"I think we saw that with Connacht last week. We rocked up, pre-season friendly, getting a few things right, but they brought a real focus and intensity to it. I think that will give you an idea of the standard of what we are going to go into at the start of the league."

Munster will kick off with the first of four meetings this season with Champions Cup opponents Treviso at Irish Independent Park next weekend.

The following week they travel to play Ospreys in Swansea. Then there will be a break of three weeks before champions Glasgow Warriors come to Thomond Park on October 2 in a repeat of last season's final.

Cardiff Blues are in Irish Independent Park the following week and after another trip to Wales, this time to Scarlets, Munster will have their first Irish derby when they take on last season's semi-finalists Ulster at Thomond Park on October 30.

"It is very important to start well, especially with the first league game at home. We didn't do so well first up against Edinburgh last season, so that is something that will very much be at the back of the minds. We are keen, as is everyone, to get off to a good start and hopefully we will."

Walsh is hopeful of a big crowd in Cork this evening against a strong London Irish side. "We were playing quite well down in Irish Independent Park last year, particularly during the run-in, so I would hope the crowd that came out to see the rugby then would come back.

"If we can go out and put on a good performance, I think that will follow through into the first league match."

Irish Independent

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