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Taute and Farrell's muscular midfield partnership gives Munster an added dimension

The pair are named to start again in tomorrow’s Pro14 trip to Ospreys.

Farrell scored his first Munster try last week.
Farrell scored his first Munster try last week.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

JACO TAUTE, MUNSTER’S South African battering ram, hopes his burgeoning midfield partnership with Chris Farrell will help his team-mate achieve his dream of playing for Ireland.

There have been real signs of improvement in Munster’s attacking intentions in the first two games of the season, and we’ve seen a glimpse of what the muscular Taute-Farrell axis can offer the southern province this year.

With Rory Scannell still working his way back into contention after his summer exertions with Ireland, Farrell has been able to settle into the club nicely following his arrival from Grenoble.

The 24-year-old centre, standing at six-foot-five, possesses a sharp offloading and passing game while his height and considerable weight — 108kg — means he is powerful in contact.

It’s still early days, of course, but Taute has been impressed with what he’s seen in the victories over Treviso and Cheetahs.

“He is a quality player,” Taute said. “He played very well in France in a losing team at Grenoble. He did very well. I studied a number of his games before he came just to see what type of player he is, so we could get the best out of him.

“He is a very balanced player, he likes to have the ball in his hands. Playing inside him is about creating as much space for him as is possible, so he can thrive in that. He is very good, a hard runner, he gets his hands through, so he can offload.

Jaco Taute on the attack Taute in action against the Cheetahs. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“We would like to see more of that. It is all about putting him into space, trying to create space for him, putting him into positions where he can use his strong running ability.”

Farrell opened his Munster account with a second-half try during last week’s trouncing of the Cheetahs and will again partner Taute in midfield for tomorrow’s Pro14 trip to Ospreys.

It’s no secret the former Ulster and Ireland U20 outside centre turned down renewed terms from Grenoble to return home to Ireland in pursuit of Test honours, and Taute says his job is to get the best out of the 24-year-old.

“Playing inside of him he is a lovely fella, I really enjoy it, so too is Rory (Scannell) and so are the centres who are coming out of the academy,” the Springbok said.

“We still have a lot to work on to build on and I think we haven’t found each other yet. There is always room for improvement, but I love playing with him. He is a great bloke, he’s very attacking, he is good.

“The closer you are off the field, the more you’ll play for each other on the field and that’s a very important thing. Like I say he’s a great bloke, he really enjoys playing for Munster and is a young guy with big aspirations. He has goals to play for Ireland and that’s normal, that’s why he came back. For me as a foreign player, I just want to get the best out of him.”

The immediate focus is on extending Munster’s winning start to the season to three games when Rassie Erasmus’ side take on Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday [KO 3.15pm, Sky Sports, TG4].

A general view of training Munster face their first away trip of the season this weekend. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The province are in the middle of their best ever away record in the championship have won their last eight games on the road, an unbeaten run stretching back to the round six defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium last season.

Add to that the statistic that Munster have lost just one of the last six meetings between the sides and the Welsh region have won just once in their last four league outings, the outcome should be a foregone conclusion.

But this round three game will represent a significant step up for Munster from the opening wins over Treviso and Cheetahs, with Taute and Erasmus quick to acknowledge that during the week.

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So far, the players have been able to put the off-field uncertainty to one side to record a winning start to the campaign with Taute insisting that their focus remains solely on the next game and nothing further.

“As a squad we’ve been together a year now with Rassie and Jacques and we’ve been through some tough times which really bonded the squad,” he added.

“At the end of the day we all work towards the common goal and that’s making Munster a better place. We’re focusing week to week on our goals and not looking too forward ahead.

“We know it will come, that challenge will come but we’re a really close, tight-knit bunch of guys so we just work on our common goal. We put the team first and not individuals.”

Ospreys:

15. Dan Evans
14. Keelan Giles
13. Cory Allen
12. James Hook
11. Jeff Hassler
10. Sam Davies
9. Tom Habberfield

1. Paul James
2. Sam Parry
3. Ma’afu Fia
4. Bradley Davies
5. Lloyd Ashley
6. James King
7. Justin Tipuric (captain)
8. Dan Baker

Replacements:

16. Scott Baldwin
17. Nicky Smith
18. Rhodri Jones
19. Adam Beard
20. Dan Lydiate
21. Matthew Aubrey
22.Dan Biggar
23. Kieron Fonotia

Munster:

15. Andrew Conway
14. Darren Sweetnam
13. Chris Farrell
12. Jaco Taute
11. Alex Wootton
10. Tyler Bleyendaal (captain)
9. Duncan Williams

1. Liam O’Connor
2. Rhys Marshall
3. Stephen Archer
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Billy Holland
6. Sean O’Connor
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. Jack O’Donoghue

Replacements:

16. Niall Scannell
17. James Cronin
18. John Ryan
19. Fineen Wycherley
20. Robin Copeland
21. James Hart
22. Rory Scannell
23. Simon Zebo

Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU).

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Ryan Bailey

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