United Rugby Championship: Munster fully focused on Ulster says Stephen Archer

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Munster’s veteran prop Stephen Archer believes his side must focus on their United Rugby Championship clash with Ulster this weekend before considering any other games.

The Limerick men have not won in Belfast since 2016, and 245-cap Archer understands it will be a tricky encounter at Kingspan Stadium.

Boosted by vital win

Munster come off a stunning 34-23 two-leg aggregate win over Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup Round-of-16, and Archer says there is a “buzz” in the changing room.

“The place is buzzing now. There was a good buzz in the dressing room after and it has carried into the week. Fellas are buzzing around training, we’d a tough training session but an enjoyable one. Everyone, whatever 40 lads out on the pitch, it was a good competitive session and an enjoyable one,” he told the Irish Examiner.

“It was a special day, a great one. Saturday afternoons are always when you traditionally want to play your knockout rugby matches. Yeah, the place was hopping, a great atmosphere. One of the best I can remember playing in, in recent times anyway. And then the feeling in the dressing room, mix of relief at getting through to the next round but also satisfaction because we can take a lot from the performance going forward.”

Ulster will inevitably be looking to bounce back after their heartbreaking loss to Toulouse in the Champions Cup, and the prop believes the set-piece will be crucial against their Northern Irish counterparts.

“Probably going through everything, it will probably be decided up front. I know their head coach Dan McFarland quite well, he coached me in the Ireland U20s set-up a long time ago,” added Archer. “And I know Dan puts on a lot of emphasis on the set-piece, particularly the scrum and the maul. So, they’ve been pretty effective in that area all season so we know we’ll have our hands full taking on that battle there.

“I think they’ll be well up for this one, it’s going to be a tough one for us, I think the last time we won there was 2016 with Rory’s drop goal, so we’re under no illusions that it’s a massive test for us and one we’re relishing.

“Ulster is such a big match, you immediately focus straight away. We know if we’re not right, we’d look pretty stupid if we’re mentally off it. I don’t think there will be an issue with really focusing there.”

Archer meanwhile believes incoming head coach Graham Rowntree is a good appointment and is looking forward to working with the Englishman.

“Graham’s a great fella. I get on with him, he’s a great, I suppose, not just a scrum coach but a great coach in general,” he said. “Yeah, like that, he’s got a way with the room, through that humour but also because he’s very professional, and he’ll leave no stone unturned in preparing us for a match and stuff. Yeah, I look forward to working with him as a head coach next year.

“He’s just a very good scrum coach, he’s brought a big massive scrum culture in here. I suppose that generates throughout the whole pack really. It’s definitely improved our game, as a pack.”

READ MORE: Champions Cup: Fixture clash in quarter-final while Challenge Cup kick-offs also announced

The article United Rugby Championship: Munster fully focused on Ulster says Stephen Archer appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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