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Mulvihill excited by strength in depth as players step up in internationals' absence

First Team News | 23rd October 2020

John Mulvihill is excited by the strength in depth at his disposal as he prepares for the season’s first Monday Night Rugby, which sees Cardiff Blues travel to take on Munster in a crucial Conference B clash.

Both sides head into the encounter with 100 per cent records in-tact this season, after impressive victories in their opening two fixtures. 

It is early day, but Cardiff Blues sit on top of the table, with their bonus point win over Connacht giving them the edge, after Munster secured victories over Scarlets and Edinburgh.

Despite seven players being involved in the Wales squad, Mulvihill has been pleased with his side’s preparations and is looking forward to seeing players stepping up and making a mark in the absence of some key figures.

“We’ve had a good week, and had a good month in all with how we’ve prepared with our detail and our focus on getting all the things right at training. We now want to make sure we put that into our performance,” said the head coach.

“Munster are a big team but we just need to make sure that we get ourselves right.

“We’ve had a good start, and they’ve also won their two games, and we’re aware that they always finish strong.

“They went behind in both games and ill discipline cost the two teams that they’ve played so far.

“They score 75 per cent of their points in the last 20 minutes of the game, so they have really good experience in knowing how to grind out a win.

“We need to turn up ready to go on Monday night, which is a bit different, especially with the clocks changing.

“We’re all really excited about the block that’s coming ahead. We’re proud of the amount of boys we have involved in the Wales set-up, but when I arrived here in 2018 we might’ve not had that depth to compete during these periods.

“But for us to have a back row containing guys like Olly Robinson, James Botham, Will Boyde, Sam Moore, that type of quality of players to step up, shows that we’re in a good place.”

Following an injury to Ross Moriarty, and with Josh Navidi going through concussion protocols, Shane Lewis-Hughes was called into the Wales squad.

Mulvihill is delighted to see the uncapped flanker rewarded for his hard work and determination. 

The Australian added: “He’s 22 now and knowing Shane he’s probably been training for this opportunity for 20 years! 

"I called him yesterday, after training had finished, and he was in the gym doing an extra session.

"We call him ‘Crazy Shane’ here at Cardiff Blues, but it’s awesome that he will step up. When he gets his opportunity he’ll take it.

"He wants to be the best and he certainly prepares in that way. 

"He does a lot of extras and a lot of stuff that people won’t see. Whether it’s before or after training he’ll work on little areas of his game.

"He’ll sit down with coaches to go through things as well and he’s a real professional."