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Munster v Connacht: ‘You’re never as good as they say and you’re never as bad…’ Denis Leamy reflects on Munster’s ‘rollercoaster’

Back-to-back bonus-point wins in South Africa have Munster back in the hunt for a top-two spot in the URC, while Graham Rowntree’s side will be hoping for a slip-up from Glasgow or Leinster.

Confidence must be high then, having returned in style from the disappointment of being knocked out of the Champions Cup by Northampton.

‘You’re never as good as they say and you’re never as bad as they say. That would be my mentality anyway,” said defensive line coach Denis Leamy, echoing the adage so often used by his former teammate Anthony Foley.

“It’s very important, you just have to keep the balance, and we’ve definitely had a bit of a rollercoaster.”

There is never a dull moment in Munster, but after managing a tough campaign significantly hampered by injuries to key players, their last two impressive wins over the Bulls and Lions have been a reminder of just how good they are when they go with a play a stronger hand.

“There’s an old saying, ‘Good players make good coaches,’ you know, it gets you back a lot of your experience, no doubt about it,” Leamy continued.

“Over the course of the season you will encounter difficult situations, especially with the injuries we have suffered.

“Sometimes you just have to keep going, that’s not ideal. But when we have players like RG Snyman coming back, Oli Jager, these guys are internationals, they are powerful, they have great skills as a rugby player, but also the experience to win in difficult places. So it certainly helps. Enormous.”

Connacht’s tough injury bulletin this week was similar to what Munster have experienced so often. Despite the Westerners traveling to Limerick being without key players such as Mack Hansen, Cian Prendergast, Denis Buckley and JJ Hanrahan, Leamy expects another tough test.

“You can’t shy away from wanting to win every game,” he added.

“The reality is that it will always be difficult. You play against very good sides. But absolutely, winning the next three games, if we’re good enough to do that and that’s good enough to get a top two, absolutely brilliant, that would be fantastic.

“But this game is a big game in itself. There is a huge amount at stake. Connacht are pushing hard for the top eight. They are a very good team, definitely in the top eight. And of course ourselves. We want to back up what we’ve done over the last few weeks.

“Every time we play Connacht you have to understand the derby nature of it, the physical confrontation. I think Connacht really feel like they can beat Munster every time they play Munster. Sure, we feel the same when we play them, but there’s nothing between the sides. The last six games we’ve been 50/50 in terms of sharing the spoils, so that says a lot.”