ASSISTANT coach, Brian Walsh says Munster plan to broaden their game and play with more width this season following the bolstering of their backline options.
The arrival of All-Black centre Francis Saili, coupled with the availability of fellow Kiwi out-half Tyler Bleyendaal following long-term injury, has boosted Munster’s selection options ahead of the new season.
Munster face their third and final pre-season friendly against London Irish at Musgrave Park on Friday, 7pm with Anthony Foley’s charges looking for a first win following back-to-back defeats to both Grenoble and Connacht. Munster backs coach Walsh said he believes the province now had the option to move the ball wide more often in their backline when the opportunity arose.
Walsh said the Munster management team was very aware that the PRO12 competition would be in direct competition with the Rugby World Cup for rugby supporters attention during the autumn months. He hoped the emergence of several exciting home grown players at Munster would also help attract supporters through the turnstiles while the World Cup is centre stage nationally.
Walsh said: “We are also trying to broaden our game a little bit as well and play with a bit more width at times. We feel we have the personnel to do that this year. I would hope the likes of Francis Saili and (Mark) Chisholm will attract supporters. People will come to look at these guys, Tyler (Bleyendaal) is another one.
“The excitement generated by having young guys around the squad as well that are coming through and who are home grown is very important that we back that and drive that through.
“I think we were playing quite well down in Irish Independent Park last year, particularly during the run-in, so I would hope the crowd that came out to see the rugby then would come back. If we can go out and put on a good performance on Friday against London Irish, I think that will follow through into the first league match.”
Back-row forward Jack O’Donoghue is to have a scan on a possible tear in his pec (pectoral) (shoulder). However, Walsh said that while UL-Bohs clubman O’Donoghue was a doubt for Friday’s clash with the ‘Exiles’, it was not a long-term injury.