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Munster wary of Cornish Pirates threat

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 06, 2013

By Julian O'Riordan

Rugby

Munster wary of Cornish Pirates threat

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Munster return to West Cornwall this weekend with the memory of 2010's British and Irish Cup defeat to Cornish Pirates still fresh in their minds.

As coach Ian Costello remembers, the final that year was played at Camborne, when present day Ireland squad members Simon Zebo, Peter O'Mahony, Dave Kilcoyne and Conor Murray all featured, and the Pirates thrillingly won 23-14 to proudly become first ever winners of the trophy.

This weekend's encounter takes place at Mennaye Field but Costello expects a similar atmosphere. Speaking to his club's official website, he said: "Last time we played them in Camborne it was a cauldron in terms of atmosphere and we expect exactly the same again this Sunday as they get a huge crowd out traditionally on Sundays.

"We're expecting a lot of support for them and we're just focusing on ourselves to be ready, we've had a lot of tough places to travel to in the last few years so we know what we need to do.

"Cornish Pirates have a very strong set-piece, a big strong physical pack and they've a good nine and their ten is just back from injury, Jonny Bentley, who we played against before. They've a lot of speed and they are a very good side, currently top six and were top four in the Championship. They've a lot of guys coming back from injury now, three of them in particular coming back into the side in the last few weeks and they are big players for them.

"I think they are more of a top-four Championship side realistically but that's where we have to pitch ourselves as well. They've a lot of strengths and we've a lot of strengths so we're focusing on what we're good at and what we've done well over the last few months."

Costello includes players with Heineken Cup experience, such as Dave O'Callaghan, Niall Ronan and Duncan Williams in his side this weekend.

O'Callaghan and Ronan are joined in the back row by CJ Stander while Williams teams up at half-back with JJ Hanrahan. Hooker Sean Henry will skipper the side.

Costello said: "Our expectations will be very, very high, and of course they will have their own expectations, but for us it's all about giving the performance that we are capable of.

"We've been speaking over the last few weeks about being the best prepared we can possibly be and we've a couple of days to go yet and we're on course for that."

Munster: Scanlon; Hircock, Barnes, Deasy, O'Mahony; Hanrahan, Williams; Cronin, Henry (capt), Ryan; Foley, Nagle; O'Callaghan, Ronan, Stander. Replacements: Casey, Cotter, Hayes, O'Mahony, Hurley, Bohane, Holland.

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