Tuesday 25 October 2016

Men in Red face real test of character

Munster’s Ian Keatley
Munster’s Ian Keatley

Bounce-back-ability is one of those new-mangled, 'make-y, up-y' words created especially for moments like these and for a province like Munster on their way to The Dragons in the PRO12 League on Sunday (KO 2.30, S4C).

The manner of their fall to Connacht was disquieting, even disturbing as their diminishing support base witnessed the kind of dominance that simply never happened in the first decade of this century.

Last week, the statistician wizards had the pages of history for evidence to support the theory that what happened could not happen.

Then again, Munster have been, for the most part, getting there in ugly fashion for their six wins and two losses in the League prove - their next opponents have struggled to two wins and six losses.

The Men in Red were exposed utterly by Connacht in a match they did not deserve a losing bonus point from. A cursory glance at the history here reveals how Munster have lost just one of their last nine at Wales' development nursery.

However, the overall record is kinder to The Dragons, each club registering six wins in their dozen clashes there.

It is for days like these Francis Saili, struggling with a calf injury, was signed to give Munster a point of attack.

Scrum-half Conor Murray (foot), tight-head BJ Botha (concussion) and Donnacha Ryan (rib) are three steadfast pillars on the mend. It could just fall to out-half Ian Keatley to lead the way in what is likely to be a lively affair.

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