Munster will go on two missions this weekend, which will test them in every aspect of their mental and physical vigilance.
The first was a fitness test against the Dragons in Limerick, where assistant coach Graham Rowntree revealed the team’s determination to achieve maximum total points in a game against Wales’ strong but limited side .
A day later, a much larger group of players will embark on their second journey to South Africa, which cannot fail to remind of their disastrous last attempt to complete a double header against the Bulls and Lions net. .
In November, the Covid-stricken country inadvertently trapped Munster in an untenable web of sporting conflict, a conflict that ultimately taxes everyone who suffers it in other ways. together.
An outbreak within the team locked them first in hotel quarantine, and then quarantine when they got home late.
The influence of many double codes All-Ireland champion sports psychologist Caroline Currid will be invaluable support, especially for the team’s less established players, who have clearly struggled with the situation.
Several players have spoken out about these difficulties in recent days and months. Others managed to cope better.
Certainly, a veteran like Rowntree, with his vast and long experience in the game, always appreciated a character well versed in the art of stoic protest.
After officials reviewed the repatriation process that took place in December, the URC announced that the required significant measures would be put in place in the unlikely event such cases occur again.
From Munster’s point of view, although there may have been some lingering anxiety from their last visit, there was no obvious sense of anxiety prior to this one.
“All protocols are in place and we’re happy with them,” confirmed Rowntree, who will help lead a team that will face a serious double test with altitude subtraction. away their international team, who will instead support Ireland for the Six Nations tipped title.
While the players’ main focus is on this week’s game, Munster’s backroom staff are always working ahead and planning video analysis, while squad selection is currently being refined.
Rowntree added: “We’re very clear about the squad we’ll be bringing in, it’s still uncertain as to when – or if – his potential interest in becoming the successor to Johann van Graan will be handled by his payroll administrators.
The South Africans have had an uncertain start to the URC but, as they prepare to face international opponents at home for the first time since before the pandemic, two years ago, Rowntree, who has both played and coached train the Lions touring teams there, know what. expect even if many on his team don’t.
“I have no doubt that at home they will do well against us. They will wait for us.
There will be some great places for our boys to come and challenge themselves, playing rugby against some of the top teams at some of the top stadiums.
“It’s a country I’ve been to more than any other country on the planet. It’s a great rugby country.
“Watch the Lions games and see the size of their squad. It’s not fair. They are big men and that is the real strength in their game. So that’s what we have to deal with in the game Lions.
“Bulls, it was a physical breakdown. They have a reverse physical development. Huge men are rushing at you very fast on the Highveld. It’s a slightly different challenge from what we’re used to, but it’s one that we’ll be up to. It would be more relaxing to play rugby than to play solitaire. ”
“Nobody’s stuck there anymore,” says Rowntree. “We checked that box. We have these memories available!
“We are looking forward to that. It was a challenging time for the club but we got through it. I think it made us stronger and we’re going there to look forward to that. Those memories are gone.”
Time to create new ones.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/graham-rowntree-if-i-get-covid-again-ill-have-another-crate-of-wine-in-my-hotel-suite-in-cape-town-41400950.html Graham Rowntree: ‘If I had Covid again, I’d have another barrel of wine in my hotel apartment in Cape Town’