Niall Scannell: Munster's scrum will need to be near perfect in Paris

He also referred to Saturday's rescheduled Champions Cup tie as emotional in reference to the passing of Anthony Foley

Niall Scannell

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

Munster hooker Niall Scannell insists that for his side to continue their good European run this weekend in Paris, their scrum will be need to be nearly perfect.

The Irish province return to France to take on Racing 92 in their rescheduled Champions Cup game. The sides were originally supposed to meet last October, but the match was postponed due to the passing of Munster head coach Anthony Foley on the morning of the game.

Munster have enjoyed a strong European campaign since, which included wins over Leicester Tigers and Glasgow Warriors. While aspects of their game have improved, Scannell pinpointed the scrum as one part of their game still under construction.

"We have to improve, that wasn't the standard [against Connacht] that we've set for the season," he said. "We need to be better.

"And fair play to Connacht, they challenged us. There's a need to improve but we also want to be cautious that we don't throw the baby out of the bath water. 

"It's been going well. There's a lot of work and solid foundations gone into it. It's about not letting those mistakes creep in in a consistent way and they haven't really been. We've just got to put it behind us and make sure we're better this week over in Paris.

"[Racing] have a lot of big men and a lot of experienced scrummagers. It's always a massive challenge going over to France from a scrum point of view. It'd be great to lay down a marker over there but we need to eradicate some of the errors we made last week first."

Munster were second best in the scrum against Connacht on New Year's Eve. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie 

He also made reference to the game and the emotional significance it hold for a lot of the players. The passing of Anthony Foley had an impact on each of the players that he says they still grapple with on a daily basis.

"It'll be different and it'll be tough, but I think there's little things every day that are tough since Axel passed away. From our own point of view and for his legacy, we still have to concentrate on rugby. 

"We have to do over in Racing what we would have done the first time if the tragedy had not unfolded. That'll be our main focus at the weekend."

Foley in his day was revered as an extremely intelligent player and Scannell revealed the high standards Foley demanded of them before big games like these. 

"Sometimes if you miss a throw I'd think 'oh he's going to nail me for that', because he was always our line-out guy. 

"Small little things around the breakdown or he feels like you could have had a turnover there or you didn't pop back to your feet quick enough. He wasn't much of a drill sergeant really, he was always just looking for little improvements. He was tough on the minute details.

"Those are the things that are tough, but we'll try and not make this a really emotional occasion if we can. Although, inevitably, there will be some reminders."