Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 30 September 2020

Rassie resists temptation to bring Lions back for 'a hell of a challenge' against Glasgow

But Ulster will have Iain Henderson available for the visit of the Dragons.

CJ Stander, Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony will be held back a little longer.
CJ Stander, Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony will be held back a little longer.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

MUNSTER WILL BE without their 2017 Lions for at least another week, but Ulster have been boosted by the availability of Iain Henderson for Friday’s Pro14 clash with the Dragons.

Rassie Erasmus says he was ‘tempted’ to reintroduce Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander into his squad for the weekend’s trip to Glasgow — a game he describes as ‘one hell of a challenge’ — but is wary of throwing them back in too early.

It means none of the trio will be involved at Scotstoun, despite Henderson being available for Ulster and the likes of Justin Tipuric of Ospreys and Scarlets trio Leigh Halfpenny and Jonathan Davies all returning last week.

“We are always tempted to introduce them on weekends like this, but we have to think about what’s coming around the corner with Cardiff, Leinster and then a return to Europe,” Erasmus said.

“It’s not a case of underestimating Glasgow I promise you, but we have to manage these guys carefully if we are to have them the whole season long.”

Murray, O’Mahony and Stander only returned to pre-season training with the province in August following their summer exertions with the Lions, and the IRFU’s player welfare system means Erasmus’ hand is forced in terms of selection.

While the Munster director of rugby would love to have the trio at his disposal for a big test this weekend, it was always unlikely they would return any sooner than the round six clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 7 October.

Henderson’s return to action has, however, come earlier than that date and the Ulster lock is set to make his first appearance of the season against Dragons this Friday, as confirmed by Les Kiss this afternoon.

Iain Henderson dejected Henderson returns this weekend. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ulster have made a bright start to the season, winning all three of their opening fixtures, and a nailbiting win over defending champions Scarlets last week was a real statement of intent from the northern province.

Similarly, Munster have recorded three successive wins but Erasmus knows his side will face their stiffest challenge of the campaign to date when they go head-to-head with unbeaten Glasgow.

“Last season we played them four times and with the exception of the game in October, every game was so close,” he added.”

“They have a brand new coach this season and there seems to be an excellent vibe there. New coaches always bring new energy and apart from that he’s a bloody good coach. I’ve witnessed him in action, seen his results and know what he can do. It looks like he’s coaching very much the same style as Gregor.

“Away from home, and their 3G pitch — it’s going to be a hell of a challenge for us.”

Subscribe to The42 podcasts here:

Young flanker O’Brien faces lengthy absence as Connacht’s injury list grows

Erasmus thinks his former assistant Wessels would be a good fit at Munster

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel