WITH Munster’s marquee players away on duty with Ireland, a longer pre-season has given Reds coach Johann van Graan more time to work with the up-and-coming talent.
The coach is keeping an eye on the future by working with players like Cork players John Hodnett, Shane Daly and Sean French and that trio should certainly see some game time on Leeside in the pre-season friendly against Declan Kidney’s London Irish.
“John Hodnett is somebody who has really impressed me in the last few weeks, great to work with,” says van Graan.
Hodnett was one of the stars of the Ireland U20 side at the Junior World Championships in Argentina as were Sean French, Craig Casey and Ben Healy.
“It’s great to work with Craig Casey, the first time I've worked with Ben Healy. Also, for those two to have Stephen (Larkham) in now...
“Shane Daly, we're going to try him out in a few different positions in the pre-season, somebody like Sean French is a very exciting rugby player.
“It's great to work with these guys, they'll have to step up and carry us for the first part of the season."
The Munster boss is confident the young guns can show their quality when the core veterans are on international duty.
“Hopefully some of those guys will do so well that when the internationals come back they'll actually push them for places because that's the only way to move your team forward.
“Guys get older and you need to replace them from within and that's what we need to do.
“We have the whole Academy squad training with us at this stage and some of them have only been together for a few weeks.
They have been on a break after the Irish U20s, some of the (Ireland) sevens guys have returned so we certainly have a much younger squad and we are going to need all of them.”