STUTTERING Munster will look to earn an early boost ahead of make-or-break European Champions Cup fixtures when Anthony Foley’s side race basement side Zebre in the Guinness PRO12 at the Stadio XXV Aprile this Saturday, 3pm (Irish time).
Munster travel to Italy on the back of four defeats in their last five fixtures, including a disappointing eight-point reverse at the hands of Irish rivals Connacht last time out. However, with the results of a number of other New Year’s fixtures going Munster’s way, Foley’s men remain in third place in the PRO12 table.
Munster will be desperate to get back to winning ways against a Zebre side currently rooted to the bottom of the league table ahead of the province’s crunch European Champions Cup tie against Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday, January 17, 1pm.
Third-placed Munster sit three points off table toppers Ospreys and two behind second-placed Glasgow.
Head coach Anthony Foley is seeking a greater degree of consistency from the side.
“We didn’t (kick on after the win over Leinster) and we’ll have a hard look at it again, but we can’t keep having the same conversations. So something has to change and hopefully we can get a response.”
Meanwhile, on the local club front, there is a full programme of Ulster Bank All-Ireland League fixtures in both Divisions 1A and 1B.
In 1A, seventh-placed Young Munster will be anxious to get back to winning ways when they host second-placed Terenure College at Clifford Park, 2.30pm. Munsters’ are now seven points off the top four, play-off places as a result of a frustrating 12-11 defeat to bottom side Dolphin in Cork.
In 1B, promotion chasing Garryowen face a trip to Galway to take on Corinthians at Corinthian Park on Saturday. Third-placed Garryowen remain strongly in the promotion race after recording a deserved 28-20 win over Buccaneers at Dooradoyle on Saturday. The win leaves Garryowen just two points behind leaders Galwegians and one adrift of second-placed Ballymena.
Also in 1B, Shannon are on the road to Dubarry Park to face Buccaneers. Shannon boosted their survival hopes in the Division and did city rivals Garryowen a favour when beating table toppers Galwegians 18-3 in Galway.
This was an excellent win for the AIL’s most successful club, helping the Limerick side jump up to seventh place and three points clear of the drop zone as a result of the success.
UL-Bohemian will be desperate to get back to winning ways when hosting leaders Galwegians on the back pitch at Thomond Park.
UL-Bohemian suffered a 32-13 thumping at the hands of an in-form Dublin University side at Thomond Park last weekend. The defeat leaves the Annacotty side in one of the automatic relegation spots, in ninth place.