Munster’s Niall Scannell is wary of the threat that former player Gerbrandt Grobler will present when his new side Gloucester visit Thomond Park in Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash.
Grobler spent last season as a Munster player but he left during the summer when the province decided not to renew his contract. He had been at the centre of a controversy when it was revealed he had served a two-year ban having pleaded guilty to taking performance enhancing drugs in 2014.
and will return to his former stomping ground in high spirits after Gloucester scored a 19-14 home win over French champions Castres last weekend.
Munster battled their way to a 10-10 draw at the Exeter Chiefs last weekend, to pick up two precious points on the road and Scannell is expecting a similarly tough encounter in Thomond.
"We’ll get something pretty similar off them as we got off Exeter," he told RTÉ Sport. "They’re obviously just behind Exeter in the league they’re in great form and we’ll be expecting more of the same this week. We’ll have to step it up again if we want to get a win at home."
One of the biggest issues for Munster to deal with is Grobler’s knowledge of their tactics and calls, and Scannell is aware that the season the South African spent with the province gives his new side an edge.
"They’ll obviously have a huge amount of inside knowledge, particularly around our set-pieces," the Irish hooker said.
"He called the line-outs for us last year and I suppose that’s just something that, as time goes on and people leave, you have that bit of knowledge on other teams.
"It’s just something we’ll have to cope with and we’ll try and come up with similar plans as we usually do.
"Just because Gerbrandt’s there, we won’t deviate too much from what we always do, that would be foolish of us to go away from what we’re good at. But it’s something that we’ll probably have to factor in alright."
Munster are under pressure to deliver a result against Gloucester but aren’t aided by the early start to the game.
Scannell is hoping to the local support can recreate the atmosphere of an evening game and has called on fans to get behind the team despite the 1pm kick-off.
"We always want to perform at home, particularly in the Heineken Cup. They got a win and the reality is that’s how tight this group is going to be. We knew that the moment it was drawn.
"It is huge for us to get a win at home and we make no bones about that, we the win, we’re trying to win, we’re aware of the challenge ahead of us.
"It would be great if we could get a capacity Thomond Park at 1pm on Saturday. I appreciate it’s not an ideal time for fans to get out but it’d be brilliant if we could get that support because we do need a big win this week."
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