United Rugby Championship: Munster have a ‘phenomenal opportunity’ to claim the title in Cape Town
Former Ireland international Bernard Jackman has tipped Munster to beat the Stormers in the Grand Final and claim the United Rugby Championship (URC) title in Cape Town this weekend.
Munster have taken the road less travelled to the all-important clash having beaten Glasgow Warriors in Scotland in the quarter-finals and memorably Leinster in Dublin in the semi-finals.
Not long before that Munster were in South Africa where they ended the Stormers‘ winning streak at home in round 17 and drew to the Sharks in the last round of the regular season.
A golden opportunity
It is fair to say that the Irish province have been the great disrupters of URC II in its latter stages and Jackman believes they have what it takes to get another win over the Stormers.
“I fancy them to win,” he said on the RTÉ Rugby podcast.
“I think they have the Stormers’ number, I think the Stormers are a brilliant side but are incredibly loose. They give you opportunities and are a little bit wild. The way Munster are defending lately, they’ll fancy their chances.
“They’ll make line breaks [the Stormers], but if you scramble well you can get after that ruck and into the passing channel.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for Munster. I know they’re building, I know they’ll be better next year, but it’s so hard to get silverware at the moment, between Champions Cup and URC.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for Munster to get that trophy, which would be massive for them in terms of recognising how they’ve improved this year, but also giving the fans hope and belief.”
Jackman’s insight from within the camp highlights that the squad is happy to be back in South Africa and out of their early season slump.
Praise for Rowntree
There was also deserved praise for the fantastic job that Munster boss Graham Rowntree has done since taking over the club at the beginning of the season.
“They’re so excited about it. They’re so happy with how things have turned for them, and it’s down to good coaching and good leadership.
“Rowntree’s been really impressive how he managed those difficult periods, how he didn’t second guess himself and try ‘go back to go forward’, if you get me. They stuck with what they wanted to build.”
Chances to change the game out wide
Meanwhile, Munster women’s assistant coach Fiona Hayes shared her pride over the Leinster win and believes the Stormers are vulnerable out wide.
“Leinster two weeks ago, they’ll have looked at that, and see how they can be better in that area, because they weren’t clinical,” she said.
“For having such a huge performance, and so much possession, they could have come away having had a loss at the Aviva having got themselves into those perfect areas of scoring.
“I personally think it’s going to be out wide at the breakdown where they’ll really go after the Stormers. We know they like to throw the ball around and there are turnover to be won out there. The only thing, and they’ll have to really look at it, discipline is going to be huge.”
It is all set for an intriguing final only made more exciting by a sold-out stadium in Cape Town to see if the Stormers can go back-to-back or if Munster can end their 12-year trophy drought.
READ MORE: United Rugby Championship: A combined Stormers and Munster XV ahead of the Grand Final