Sport Rugby

Sunday 26 January 2020

Rob Penney set to wield axe and call up 'A' team stars

Rob Penney: set to wield the axe
Rob Penney: set to wield the axe

Conor George

ROB PENNEY has hinted that there will be a number of changes to his Munster team for Saturday's clash with Gloucester at Thomond Park, writes Conor George.

The coach was clearly as confounded as everyone else as to the reasons behind the Reds' drop in intensity in Edinburgh last weekend. He expects a backlash this weekend.

"It's such a shame that your ego needs to be damaged for you to get yourself back into those zones that were there against Leinster," he said.

"Edinburgh are a quality side – I said that all week – but we took a couple of steps backwards in terms of performance."

Among the changes will be the return of captain Peter O'Mahony to the starting team in place of the luckless Paddy Butler. Butler fractured his thumb in what was his first Heineken Cup start last weekend and is expected to be out until the New Year.

Simon Zebo is also ruled out with an ankle injury and will be replaced on the wing by Johne Murphy, who travelled to Scotland as the squad's 24th man and has been in tremendous form this season.

Penney is also likely to make some unforced changes, and suggested that players who impressed in the B&I Cup game last weekend might be promoted.

"There could be more than the two changes. You could easily see some of those from the 'A' team involved against Gloucester," said Penney. "A number of guys really put their hand up and made our job even more difficult.

"At the same time you're always going to be tempted to challenge guys to perform better, to send them out again and give them the chance to rectify the mistakes they made.

"Those players are quality players and they've got a depth of experience and a lot of ability. You are not going to cast that aside on a whim."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Schools rugby special - 'The St Michael’s dream team are the side to beat'

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport