Thursday 18 January 2018

Reds gear up for flying finish in Irish Independent Park

Simon Zebo in action during squad training
Simon Zebo in action during squad training

John Fallon

The capacity crowd of 8,200 for the opening night of the redeveloped Irish Independent Park augurs well for Munster as they switch most of their remaining homes games to the Cork venue for the remainder of this season.

And while the Six Nations clash between Ireland and France at the Aviva Stadium on the same day will undoubtedly impact on the attendance, Munster will be hoping for an instant impact when they play their first Pro12 game there on February 14.

Cardiff Blues will provide the opposition for the first of four Pro12 games there between now and the end of the season. Indeed, Munster will play just one more game at Thomond Park this season, when they entertain Connacht there on March 28.

One of the most vital ties will be the visit of Glasgow Warriors to Irish Independent Park on February 28.

At the moment, just five points separate the top five in the battle for semi-final places. Ospreys lead on 44 points, Munster are third on 42 and Ulster are fifth with 39 points. Connacht are sixth on 33 points.

Munster, like all of the other teams, have nine matches left, five of them at home. Two of the four away matches are in wales, with a trip to Scarlets on February 21 and to Ospreys on March 7.

Munster will go to Murrayfield on April 11 and in May will make what Anthony Foley will hope will be the first of two visits to Ravenhill, where the final will be staged on May 30th.

Munster will this season be bidding for their first league crown since 2011 and their fourth in history.

Munster's stats have them right in contention as they head into the business end of the season. Only leaders Ospreys, with 317 points, have scored more than their tally of 310, while Munster's haul of 32 tries is bettered only by Leinster who have two more touchdowns.

Munster are the only side in the league to concede less than 200 points, with their concession of 16 tries only edged by the 15 which Ospreys have coughed up.

The difficulties of performing while the internationals are away on Six Nations duty will create its own issues for each club, but Munster will hope that they will kick off their tenure at the revamped Irish Independent Park next weekend in flying form.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport