Friday 20 April 2018

Penney warns under-strength Munster to be wary of Connacht

Munster head coach Rob Penney
Munster head coach Rob Penney

Ruaidhri O'Connor and David Kelly

ROB PENNEY has warned his below-strength Munster team not to underestimate Connacht at Thomond Park tonight.

The New Zealander has made 14 changes to his team from last weekend's win over the Dragons for the first of the inter-provincial derbies and is unable to call on a host of frontline players who are either injured or featured at Ireland training earlier this week.

It means the Reds go into battle without the likes of Paul O'Connell, Donnacha Ryan, BJ Botha and captain Peter O'Mahony.

The selection appears to leave the Pro12 league leaders vulnerable as a close-to-full-strength Connacht hunt their first win at Thomond Park since 1967.

"They're dangerous, I have serious respect for them," said Penney (left). "You have to make sure they're not given an opportunity to get a bit of a sniff."

Leinster and Ulster, meanwhile, will be without a glut of players for tomorrow's sold-out RDS clash. For Leinster, Jamie Heaslip has already been afforded two weeks off and it is unlikely Brian O'Driscoll will feature at all after playing in last week's loss in Edinburgh.

Coach Matt O'Connor must also decide whether to rest some of his other world-class players -- such as Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney -- for this game or next week's trip to Galway.

Ruan Pienaar will be one of many Ulster stars rested ahead of next week's home clash with Munster; coach Mark Anscombe may also use that game to reintroduce Nick Williams, Iain Henderson and Chris Henry after injury.

Irish Independent

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