Erasmus: 'Munster must take intensity levels up a step'

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Erasmus: 'Munster must take intensity levels up a step'

MUNSTER Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus believes the side must crank up their intensity levels for Saturday's glamour European Champions Cup pool fixture against Leicester Tigers at Thomond Park, 3.15pm.

Munster suffered defeats home and away to the Tigers at the same stage of the Champions Cup last season which all but ended the province's hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

Munster got into their latest Anglo-Irish clash at Thomond Park on the back of six successive wins in all competitions.

Leicester have inflicted two of the four defeats Munster have suffered at Thomond Park in the European Cup, including a 31-19 success 12 months ago when the Welford Road side ran in three tries.

Asked how much better Pro12 table toppers Munster needed to be for their two upcoming assignments against the Tigers, Rassie Erasmus said: “I'm not sure how much better we'll need to be, but our intensity will definitely need to be different.

“ I think the moment you run out for a game like this the intensity just ups because you're playing against internationals, whereas sometimes in the Pro12 there's fewer international players and there are some weaknesses.

“When you get into Europe there are very few weaknesses in the opposition so I guess the intensity levels are up and the room for mistakes will be much less.

“Then again, talking about being much better, I don't think we were that good last weekend (against Glasgow) and we were a little bit average in certain areas of the game. So our intensity levels will be the thing to take another step up this weekend.”

Munster will be boosted by the return of their remaining Irish internationals, including Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Keith Earls and Simon Zebo for this weekend's mammoth fixture.

Erasmus said: “It's great for all the Irish teams. To have CJ and Zeebs, and Earlsy and all those guys back, and Peter came back already last week, also Billy, everybody that was involved, it's nice.

“The balancing act is now to make sure with players being split up between Irish camp and playing for Ireland and playing for us, to quickly get aligned with how we are trying to do things, technically and tactically make sure we're all aligned for a big match like this.

“It's the same for Leicester, who had two or three guys playing internationals, so it's a hell of a boost but also a big responsibility for our side and from the senior and international side to quickly make sure we're aligned in what we're trying to do, tactically on the field.”