Leinster know Munster's two big new signings could 'add a new dimension'

Scrum-half Luke McGrath hopes his team can find their cohesion again quickly as rugby restarts.

RG SNYMAN AND Damian de Allende are both available for selection for Munster this Saturday and it will certainly add another level to the excitement around Irish rugby’s return if head coach Johann Van Graan names them in his starting XV.

Leinster, like the rest of us, know just how good the two Springboks are, even if they will hope it takes the World Cup-winning pair some time to really get going with Munster.

As Leo Cullen and Felipe Contepomi both reminded us in recent weeks, new signings generally do need a while to settle in and build cohesion with new team-mates but Leinster aren’t fooling themselves either.

rg-snyman RG Snyman at Munster training yesterday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Munster have obviously had a great recruitment, two World Cup winners into the squad and they were obviously very impressive in the World Cup, so it will definitely give them a strength,” says Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath.

“We’re excited by that challenge, they offer them a different dynamic to their game and it will be interesting to see if they play on Saturday.”

With a possible Pro14 title beckoning in just four weekends’ time, it would be no surprise for Munster to get their high-profile South African signings into action swiftly.

While Snyman and de Allende offer obvious physicality, the second row possesses x-factor with his offloading and passing skills, while de Allende’s distribution is excellent and he has worked hard on his kicking game too. So it will be intriguing to see if they are key contributors in any shift in how Munster play.

For Leinster, there isn’t much certainty in terms of their opposition scouting but McGrath explains that they haven’t had much time to consider that element of the weekend.

“Even if we were looking back at games, at what teams were doing back in March… we looked briefly at that but it’s just so different to the scenario we’re in at the moment and it’s important that we focus a lot on us because we haven’t been together that long, so the cohesion hasn’t been there.

“Even starting back up training, we were in small groups and now we’ve been together as a squad for the last three weeks.

luke-mcgrath Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s important just getting your cohesion right as a team, first and foremost, and then hopefully… we understand what Munster are like, obviously they’ll bring in two key new guys which will add a new dimension to their game, but it’s important we get our own stuff right first and then see what presents to us on Saturday.”

As we saw once again in the Premiership in England last weekend, finding fluidity and cohesion is a major challenge for every team when they get back on the pitch for the first time in months.

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The frustration for Leinster was that they had won every single game of their 2019/20 campaign and had huge levels of cohesion when the season was put on hold. 

Cullen’s men will feel that if they can get somewhere close to picking up where they left off, they will be ideally set to restart with a win this weekend.

“We were in a very good place when it stopped, so it’s important to get that back to where we were as quick as possible,” says McGrath.

“Now it’s very hard to do, there had been so much cohesion going into it and it was obviously different, we were in the middle of a Six Nations and had a good win against Glasgow just before we left off, so it’s about trying to get there as much as possible.

“It’s not a pre-season game we’re going into now, it’s straight into two Pro14 games and a semi-final, so we literally have to be right at it from the start.”

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