Munster minds turn quickly to upcoming Gloucester test
Dismal display in Edinburgh consigned to history as Rob Penney’s side switch their focus to a must-win game
Munster’s Simon Zebo is helped from the pitch on Saturday having suffered an ankle injury. He will have an X-ray on the injury today. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Leinster and Munster returned to base on Saturday evening in markedly contrasting fashions to prepare for their second group matches at home next Saturday. Buoyed by becoming only the second visiting team to lower the Ospreys’ colours in the latter’s last 23 Heineken Cup games at the Liberty Stadium, Leinster will nonetheless be mindful of Munster’s defeat in Edinburgh in ensuring they do not become too buoyant.
Mike Ross is a significant doubt for the visit of Castres due to the hamstring injury he sustained toward the end of the first quarter in Swansea.
By contrast, Simon Zebo left Murrayfield on crutches due to an ankle injury which is due to be X-rayed today.
Paddy Butler, who was replaced after 55 minutes, has been ruled out of action for at least eight weeks after undergoing surgery in Limerick yesterday on a fractured right thumb although captain Peter O’Mahony is expected to return for the visit of Gloucester.
An x-ray on James Coughlan’s injured left forearm showed no break, but he will be monitored as the week progresses.
The position regarding Brian O’Driscoll’s possible return from a calf injury is still unclear, although Leinster should have Zane Kirchener in the mix. Were Ross ruled out, the prospect of the 23-year-old tight-head Marty Moore starting only his third game for Leinster is not as worrying as it might have been in light of the way he scrummaged after his 19th minute introduction against the Lions-infused Ospreys’ pack.
Then again, Leinster’s only other registered tight head in their European squad is the 21-year-old Tadhg Furlong.
After such a thoroughly well-prepared, well executed performance, Matt O’Connor could also feel vindicated with his selection, particularly of the excellent Jimmy Gopperth at outhalf ahead of Ian Madigan, following his first Heineken Cup outing with the three-time champions and his first win at the Liberty following two defeats and a draw there with Leicester.
“It’s about getting the result for the group and we sat down on Monday and thought that Jimmy might manage it better than Mads at this point. Now, that might change next week but he has played very well. I have said it all along: he is a good pro. He is in a good side and is a very good player.”
O’Connor was particularly pleased with “the effort” his players showed a week after their defeat to Munster.
“There are things that we are trying to put together on the training paddock. We have a pretty tight window with new players and new coaches and they are working very hard. We had some robust conversations earlier in the week post-Munster. They were the first to stick their hands up and say that wasn’t good enough . . . and they fixed it.”