Belfast Telegraph

Munster have ensured cohesion won't be an issue, insists Farrell


In motion: Chris Farrell is confident Munster will be sharp
In motion: Chris Farrell is confident Munster will be sharp

By Cian Tracey

While Edinburgh opted to play plenty of their heavy hitters in last week's win over Leinster, Munster took the opposite approach, which was primarily due to the IRFU's player management system.

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That cohesion, or lack of it, may be an area that the Scottish side feel like they have an edge over Munster for Saturday's Champions Cup quarter-final, especially given that the team Johann van Graan names won't have played together since January.

It's something that Chris Farrell was keen to highlight with his head coach during the Six Nations as Munster look to hit the ground running on their return to European action.

Farrell is expected to link up with Rory Scannell again as the first-choice centre partnership look to get after an Edinburgh back-line that can be exposed.

"It (cohesion) is a real issue, I think," Fermanagh native Farrell admitted.

"I came in during the middle of the Six Nations for one game against the Kings and throughout that week of training I found myself mixing up calls and not being as sharp as I should have been or I would like to have been in a normal game.

"I recognised that straight away and I said to a lot of the lads up in Ireland camp when I went straight back up that weekend.

"I spoke to Johann about it and said, 'Look, whenever we get back down here for this game, because Pete (O'Mahony), (Keith) Earlsie and those lads have been off for a week, we really need to sharpen up on our ability to be mentally switched on and to know the calls as quickly and as sharply as you normally would because it actually is a real issue coming back in from camp, that you need to sharpen up on'.

"Because we recognised that in the middle of the Six Nations, I think it shouldn't be an issue this week because the boys have a bit of work prior to arrival (on Monday)."

Edinburgh have been the story of this season's Champions Cup as they came through a tricky pool with Toulon and Montpellier that not many people would have given them a hope of advancing from, let alone topping.

Now that they have added John Barclay to their back-row, along with Bill Mata and Hamish Watson, they are a match for most teams in Europe.

"They're a really good side and they've proved that this season," Farrell warned.

"They got out of their pool, they topped the pool with points to spare - if you're going to beat two top French teams like Toulon and Montpellier you have got to be strong.

"Defensively, we've got to be well structured.

"They've built this resilience, that is one of the main words I would use for them; how they've come from the last few seasons, they've got this resilience now where they don't give up and they fight for every inch.

"They've got some quality, quality individuals. Their back-row is exceptional. You look at what Mata does off the back of scrums and the ball he produces to launch off for the next phase.

"It's just incredible how quick he is off the back of a scrum and he's not on his own, he's got Hamish Watson and (Magnus) Bradbury and some real, real quality around him as well.

"For them to get that quick ball and the back three, they're very sharp so certainly the threat to me is the back-row, to be honest."



European Champions Cup quarter-final:

Murrayfield, Saturday, 12.45pm

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