Young Munster travel to Dublin again this Sunday when they’ll take on Lansdowne in the Aviva Stadium in AIL Division 1A. Kickoff is 2.30pm.
Third-placed Munsters had a three-game winning run in the top flight ended by St Mary’s College in Dublin on Saturday. Second-placed Lansdowne ended the 29-game winning streak of leaders Terenure when edging their Dublin derby 15-13 at Lansdowne Road on Friday night.
Munsters’ are hoping to have their exciting Tongan centre Kolio Hifo back from injury for the game. Hifo has recovered well after sustaining a knee injury and could feature in Sunday’s game or in the upcoming Munster Senior Cup quarter-final tie with Thomond. The Greenfields side’s talented Irish U-20 back-row forward Diarmuid Dee is facing another couple of weeks on the sidelines due to an ankle injury, however.
Munsters’ head coach John Staunton described Sunday’s fixture with Lansdowne as a ‘massive challenge.’
“Going to Dublin to play Lansdowne for every club outside of Dublin is a massive challenge. It is one of the hardest games you play all year. They have beefed up their squad from last season and they weren’t far off it last season. They made a big statement last weekend by beating Terenure who are also a quality side. They have a good mix of youth and experience. Last Friday night was a statement to the League that they have arrived.
“Young Munster going to Dublin next Sunday is a game I am sure Lansdowne can see themselves winning. However, if we get our stiff together and are accurate with what we do, you never know what can happen.
“Our squad is bigger this season. We are really starting to get some combinations right, both in the backs and the forwards. We are a work in progress. In last Saturday’s game against St Mary’s College we played some fantastic rugby for 20 minutes of the game and then all of a sudden we clocked off. During that time when we were on top, we were really, really good. It was just a pity we didn’t finish the opportunities we created. From that point of view
“We were disappointed after the Mary’s game. But in fairness to them, they did some very good things in the second half and played good territory. Cathal Marsh was instrumental in their performance, his kicking out of hand, kicking from the tee.
“There were a few things we were disappointed with from the referee, but look, we did enough to win two matches in the first half to be honest. We didn’t execute and finish some of the try-scoring opportunities we had. The good thing is we created them, we just didn’t finish them. From that point of view, we could have had a bigger lead going into the second half and made it harder for them to get back into the game.
“A lot of teams have improved this year. There isn’t going to be as big a spread across the league table when it comes to the end of April.”