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Rob Penney: Munster not underestimating challenge of Zebre

The Italian’s ‘played some good footie and they’ve been in the battle right up to the end on a number of occasions’.

Head coach Rob Penney at Thomond Park last night.
Head coach Rob Penney at Thomond Park last night.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Rob Penney insists his side aren’t expecting a walkover against Italian outfit Zebre tonight.

The Red hosts the newly-formed outfit at Thomond Park this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

They were beaten by Ospreys at home last time out and have just one point from five outings so far.

Penney, however, says Zebre are better than their points tally fully shows.

“It’s always a real challenge when you come off an emotional high and a challenging week last week to get the levels back up again to ensure you have a good performance.

“And we’ve talked about it, it’s a short week. There will be some positional changes and some personnel changes. And the ability for those blokes to come in and add some value and make a difference will hopefully be enough to inspire everyone to do well.

“[Zebre's points tally is] really irrelevant; although they haven’t got much success on the tack score-wise and points-wise, they’ve been a real challenge for the teams that they’ve played against. They’ve played some good footie and they’ve been in the battle right up to the end on a number of occasions. We’d be really silly to underestimate them.”

Munster for their part return to Limerick after tough recent trips to Dublin and Paris. And the New Zealander says he’s garnered lots of new information on his players over the past few weeks.

“Every opportunity’s a learning one, there’s no doubt about that,” he said at Cork It this week.

“Not only have we had a really challenging time opposition-wise, we’ve also had a lot of away games. So it was great to get back to Thomond last week for only the third time this year.

“So on the back of some travel and some tough opponents I think we’ve actually made some fantastic progress. I think we’ve got a bit of a run at home now which is wonderful. And always learning more and more about each player each day.”

Audio courtesy of RedFM’s Big Red Bench, follow them on Twitter – @BigRedBench

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