Munster centre Francis Saili
MUNSTER centre Francis Saili will come up against a familiar face this weekend when Ulster visit Thomond Park for a crucial Guinness Pro12 interprovincial fixture on Saturday, 3pm.
Saili’s former Auckland Blues and All-Black team-mate Charles Piutau is a key member of the Ulster backline.
Munster can guarantee a play-off place in the Pro12 by defeating their provincial rivals on Saturday.
Saili said: "I have kept in contact with him (Charles Piutau) a little bit. I went off Snapchat, so that is how we kinda kept in touch.
“Charles is someone I played with through the grades and back home in the Super Rugby franchise and the All-Blacks as well, so it's interesting to play against him.
"I have only played against him once or twice. That was in club rugby back home.
“I know how dangerous he is and leading into this weekend, reviewing against Ulster, he is going to be one of the main targets to keep an eye on. I am happy to play against Charles and like I have always said, once you cross that line, no friends on the field. Hopefully, I can share a beer with him after the game.
“A guy like Charles sniffs out opportunities. With us we need to trust our defence systems and I know we have been doing that the whole year. It is a team sport, but we just know he is one of the key guys in their team that can make something out of nothing.
"We are confident enough going into this game, especially with how we have been going throughout the year with our defence system.”
Saili insists speculation over his future with the province is not on his mind ahead of crucial upcoming fixtures in both the Guinness Pro12 and Champions Cup.
Former All-Black Saili is out of contract with Munster at the end of the season, with his appearances this term limited by a serious shoulder injury which kept him sidelined until St Stephen’s Day.
Asked if there is any update on his future with Munster this week, Saili said: "That is not on the horizon at the moment. I am just trying to play good footy week in and week out.
“Hopefully in the next couple of months something comes through for me, but under than that I am just enjoying my footy, enjoying how I am going with Munster."