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Rowntree has 'huge plans' for Knox and Salanoa as he urges Munster young guns to seize chance

Meanwhile, the forwards coach says his stance hasn’t changed in relation to potentially succeeding Johann van Graan in the top job at Munster.

Graham Rowntree at Munster training.
Graham Rowntree at Munster training.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER FORWARDS COACH Graham Rowntree says it’s up to the young guys who are going to see action during the Six Nations window to make the most of the opportunity but he’s confident they will grasp the chance.

Munster have nine players in the Irish squad and with other experienced players such as hooker Niall Scannell, and Springboks Damian de Allende and Jason Jenkins, out through injury, Johann van Graan and his management will be giving game-time to a lot of fringe players.

That starts in Parma on Saturday against Zebre and Rowntree said these games were great opportunities for players to make a claim as they did earlier in the season against Wasps in the Champions Cup.

“Another great opportunity for these young lads, it’ll be mostly young lads coming in and they’ve not let us down when we’ve put them in. We’ve got some nice combinations planned in terms of young guys and guys who have been around a bit.

“We’re used to change; dropping in and out of games, periods away, isolation, the lads have been great on that front, but I do know we’re in good nick. We’re fit and raring to go for this next block.”

The forwards coach said that tightheads Keynan Knox and Roman Salanoa are set to return to the frontline.

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“They’re very close, Roman has been playing for Shannon in the AIL, he’s just needed some game time. Knoxy has been in and out of the group over the last block, they’re very close.

Both have huge futures at the club, I’ve huge plans for them. Young, dynamic, big and with great attitudes. They’re a pleasure to coach, and they’ll feature over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Rowntree said there was nothing new to report regarding his own future at Munster. He has signed a contract extension for another two years but is continuing to bat away questions about taking over from van Graan as head coach.

“There’s a process in place, and my stance hasn’t changed. As I said three weeks ago, they know my aspirations, nothing has changed since then. There’s nothing more to be said today,” added the former England prop.

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John Fallon

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