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'We all have to try and pick up the slack together and try and fill the void that Axel has left'

Hooker Niall Scannell views tonight’s inter-pro clash with Ulster as a welcome distraction after a tough two weeks.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER HOOKER NIALL Scannell believes that Anthony Foley will continue to inspire them for a long time and that they will try to perform in his honour for man a day.

The 24-year old said that it has been traumatic dealing with the death of their head coach but that having matches to play is helping everyone in Munster.

“Yeah, it is a welcome distraction, really. Going to play Ulster is a very tough task, it is not an easy distraction by any means, but it is good that we can concentrate so much on the weekend.

“That does help and I just know that, from Axel’s point of view, that is exactly what he would want. He would want us to keep improving, keep performing, keep concentrating in the task because that was always his thing, he just wanted Munster to win.

It has been a difficult week and I would say the next few weeks are going to be difficult. It still seems kind of surreal. We had a massively emotional week last week followed by a big performance, probably the comedown then after that and then we have to physically recover.

“Now we are back into the normal swing of things, so we are massively in disbelief over what has happened, but we all have to try and pick up the slack together and try and fill the void that Axel has left.”

Scannell, a former Irish U-20 captain whose younger brother Rory was among the try scorers in last weekend’s superb 38-17 win over Glasgow Warriors in the Champions Cup, said that they need to produced something special to win in Kingspan Stadium this evening.

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Niall Scannell with Stuart Hogg Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It is a derby and we know what we are going to get, we are going to get a massively physical performance off a well drilled team, very organised, very efficient and it is just going to be a massive task, especially away in Ravenhill.

“We are under no illusions what is coming to us. I know it has been probably a bit of a disjointed fortnight for us as this stage, and while Ulster are massively respectful in the tribute their fans gave up in Ravenhill last weekend, we know, from a professional point of view they are coming for four points and they are going to be coming hard.

“That is just the nature of it and we will be in a good position to combat that hopefully,” added Scannell, who has now chalked up 37 appearances for Munster.”

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