Munster’s Howard excited by Thomond debut

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Munster's Pat Howard, who is in line to make his home debut for the province against Ulster in the PRO12 at Thomond Park on Friday night, pictured at a squad training session in UL
MUNSTER new boy Pat Howard is looking forward to experiencing the famed Thomond Park atmosphere for the first time in Friday night’s Guinness PRO12 clash with Ulster, 7.35pm.

MUNSTER new boy Pat Howard is looking forward to experiencing the famed Thomond Park atmosphere for the first time in Friday night’s Guinness PRO12 clash with Ulster, 7.35pm.

South African centre Howard, who has joined the province on a short-term three month contract, made his Munster debut off the bench in the province’s bonus point PRO12 win over the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night last.

Third-placed Munster host second-placed Ulster in a crunch interprovincial clash on Friday, the final fixture before the European Champions Cup resumes.

Howard said: “Gert Smal who has coached Ireland had contacts over here and he actually organised this (stint at Munster), so there are on off time (in South Africa) at the moment. They are just getting into pre-season at the moment so he said it’s the perfect opportunity now to go get game time and get more experience

“I’m looking forward to the game (Friday night). I hear Thomond Park is amazing.”

Howard is looking forward to playing with Munster’s returning Irish internationals, especially Paul O’Connell who is highly regarded in South Africa.

“Having the boys back,like Paul O’Connell, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo, will be a big boost to the squad in general but it always is no matter what country it is.

“I haven’t met them yet and it would be nice to meet those guys. Paul O’Connell would obviously be world renowned in his own right as well as putting the fear of God into everyone.

“Everybody I talk to in Limerick or met here asks you ‘have you met Paul O’Connell?’ and it’s ‘what’s he like?’, so I haven’t met him yet so everybody wants to know about him.

“They’re a nice bunch of guys here, I’m settling in well.

“It is (my contract at Munster) until February, until Super Rugby starts again. I’ll be needed back for that as cover.

“I am sure that if things go well and negotiations go well maybe there’ll be a future in it depending on how things go.”