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'We are taking this very seriously' - Munster target Rainbow Cup success

Graham Rowntree said second row RG Snyman is looking ‘scary’ as he nears his return.

Munster missed out on the Pro14 trophy last month.
Munster missed out on the Pro14 trophy last month.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER ASSISTANT COACH Graham Rowntree says the province will be going all out to win the Rainbow Cup, whatever format it eventually falls into.

The new competition is due to kick-off this weekend and Munster open with a visit to the RDS in Dublin to play Leinster on Saturday before inter-provincial clashes against Ulster and Connacht.

Tournament organisers had hoped that four South African teams could travel to Europe for rounds four to six before a final on 19 June but fresh reports from South Africa have indicated that the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks, and Lions are set to withdraw just days before the Rainbow Cup starts.

There remains no official confirmation of how the competition will play out, but Rowntree said Munster are targetting silverware in the coming months as they aim to end their decade-long trophy drought.

“Winning, winning, winning,” said Rowntree when asked what Munster want to get out of the Rainbow Cup. “Win the competition whatever form it takes.

“That means winning week by week. We’ve got our old mates this weekend to start the competition off so it’s a good opportunity to look at different combinations, but we’re taking it as seriously as we would any other competition.

“I mean that – that’s not just small talk from me. We are taking this very seriously.”

Munster have been boosted by the return to full training of Tadhg Beirne ahead of the Leinster game, while they are also hoping long-term injury absentee RG Snyman will be back in squad training next week.

The Springboks lock suffered an ACL rupture just minutes into his Munster debut against Leinster last August but is now in the final stages of his rehab.

“He’s not got any smaller, that’s for sure,” said Rowntree of Snyman. “He’s fitting in nicely, he has been in and out doing a few bits of scrummaging, not full eight-on-eight stuff, and contact work with us this week. We’ll progress that.

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“A lot of this stuff, we have to see how he reacts to every change of level we put him through. He’s getting well managed, looks fit, looks big, looks scary. We’re delighted to have him back in next week, hopefully, for full training.”

Meanwhile, Rowntree confirmed that he had ruled himself out of being part of Warren Gatland’s Lions coaching team this summer due to family reasons.

“I’ve been speaking to them and having it confirmed about what it would really look like in terms of no family support [on tour in South Africa]. I can’t do that to my family, I have just moved them over [to Limerick] in the last few weeks.

“I can’t just escape for two months, go on a Lions tour, it didn’t feel right. It was an easy decision in that regard. The plan all along was to take them with me because they’re special tours, I’m sure everyone has said that. So there we go.”

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Murray Kinsella

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