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Erasmus refuses to put boot into errant Bleyendaal

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Munster out-half Tyler Bleyendaal. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster out-half Tyler Bleyendaal. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster out-half Tyler Bleyendaal. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has brushed off concerns about out-half Tyler Bleyendaal's place-kicking after an indifferent start to the season off the tee by the errant Kiwi.

Bleyendaal has converted just 46 per cent of placed balls this season - only six from 13 attempts have raised the flags - amidst anxiety about the player's ability to control a game following his fitful displays in prominent play-off matches in both domestic and European combat last May.

"We all go through those steps and that's where it's a matter of time until you hit your straps again," says a relatively unconcerned Erasmus.

"When fly-halves make mistakes that's fine but when they stop making decisions, I think that's a problem. He made a lot of decisions on the field and some of them didn't come off but we hate it when number tens and 15s and nines stop making decisions and start hiding.

"For me, as long as he's making big decisions and if it doesn't work, it's a matter of time before it will work because we all know how good he is. And we still beat Ospreys, even in that wet weather when one or two of the bounces didn't go his way.

"His kicks at goals? It's just hard work and rectifying the mistakes you make in your action or your focus or whatever the problem might be. Again, it's a matter of time before that comes back."

Asked if there was a specific problem with his technique, Erasmus deferred to Felix Jones, who has latterly emerged as a key figure in the coaching staff during the South African's indeterminate tenure as Munster continue their quest for his suitable long-term successor.

"You'd have to talk to Felix about that. I'm the last guy to comment on that stuff because I don't know much about kicking.

"Look, one hit the upright, the other one was just in front of it so just so close. And those distance kicks which he kicked just bounced left or right.

"And on the soccer field we played on, it's like the ball bounced really, really smoothly, so I don't think there's a massive problem really."

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Once more, Erasmus has favoured consolidation over rotation; with his three Lions stars still absent, summer Ireland debutant Rory Scannell makes his seasonal debut, replacing Jaco Taute in the midfield. Dave Kilcoyne's recovery from knee trouble is confirmed with his placement upon the bench.

Glasgow, who have also won the first three games in Conference A, have also favoured consistency of selection and the return of their captain, Ryan Wilson, to the back-row is the sole change in the pack.

Scrum-half Ali Price and centres Peter Horne and Rory Hughes also return as Dave Rennie juggles his back-line resources with an eye to continuing their fine early run.

"For a new coach who has only been there five weeks, it's difficult to quickly imprint your style and the way you do things," adds Erasmus.

"I know him from Super Rugby so he is really sharp, he's got very good players there. Most of them are internationals and they are showing it on the table.

Renowned "Gregor Townsend's approach was attack and trust yourself and attack from inside the 22. I think that Dave looks like it is a lot the same, especially if he is going to do the same thing he did at Super Rugby.

"The Chiefs were renowned for running the ball from everywhere and being successful at it, not stupid, being clever.

"They have showed in two of their games in wet rainy weather. I think when a team strikes them on that 4G pitch on a dry day it is going to busy defensively and I think they'll keep it that way.

"They are well-coached and have clever players. Finn Russell is pulling the strings really smart and they have two or three great number nines who can play, solid centres and a kicking game from their full-backs, so they can play the conditions.

"I do not think you will not find a team which will run headless under him. It is a massive challenge and again it is away from home."

Munster won all four clashes between these sides last season and the Irish province have not lost on the road at all during 2017 including their last two visits to Glasgow.

"We're looking forward to this, it's a good litmus test for us," agrees Kiwi Rennie. "We're creating chances but we need to be more clinical. We'll get a bit of an idea of where we're at."

Verdict: Munster

Glasgow - R Jackson; L Jones, N Grigg, P Horne, R Hughes; F Russell, A Price; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, S Cummings, R Wilson (capt), C Gibbins, A Ashe. Reps: P MacArthur, A Allan, D Rae, B Alainu'uese, R Harley, H Pyrgos, S Johnson, L Sarto.

Munster - A Conway, D Sweetnam, C Farrell, R Scannell, A Wootton, T Bleyendaal (capt), D Williams; L O'Connor, R Marshall, S Archer, J Kleyn, B Holland, S O'Connor, T O'Donnell, J O'Donoghue. REPS - N Scannell, D Kilcoyne, J Ryan, F Wycherley, R Copeland, J Hart, J Taute, S Zebo.

Ref - N Owens (Wales)



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