Rassie Erasmus Clarifies Why Munster Have No Recognised Nine On The Bench Tomorrow
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Rassie Erasmus has revealed that Ian Keatley will act as cover from scrumhalf Duncan Williams for tomorrow’s Champions Cup semi-final.
The Munster boss has decided to go with experience for the crucial tie, leaving inexperienced scrumhalves Abrie Griesel and Angus Lloyd out of the squad in the absence of Conor Murray, who is yet to recover from a shoulder injury that has caused him some nerve damage in his neck.
Erasmus realises it’s a bit of a risky call, but thinks experience will be vital against the reigning European champions.
“We’ve trained with Ian Keatley covering nine in certain positions and then on defence, we will try to do other things,” said Erasmus after todays captain’s run.
“We just think that in this game, experience is going to be important and big-match temperament is going to be important, so that’s why we made that decision.”
Andrew Conway starts on the wing ahead of Darren Sweetnam, who picked up a concussion against Ulster. Sweetnam is fit and ready, but because he didn’t train all week, Conway has gotten the nod over the former GAA player.
“Our policy is pretty simple,” said Erasmus of that call.
“If you didn’t make most of the training sessions, then when anybody else is close to you, you start with the player that trained the whole week.
“Obviously, Sweets had to come through the HIA testing and he didn’t make all the training sessions. Andrew has been playing there and trained the whole week. That’s basically it.”
Another huge call sees Erasmus call on new loan signing Jean Deysel from the bench as opposed to Irish international Jack O’Donoghue. Rassie reckons the South African can be more of an impact off the bench and can cover more positions. Deysel can play in the second-row department and across the back-row.
“I think if CJ weren’t fit, Jack would have maybe slotted straight into the starting spot and Jean would have stayed on the bench. Then CJ came through the week.
“We’re just looking for a specific type of impact player and Jean is covering two or three positions for us, eight and seven specifically and also he can do six as well. It’s just the mix up of the team and what we think we’ll need later in the game.
“Jack’s really unlucky not to make this team, he’s had an excellent season.”