"The jump up to the PRO12 is a bit of a leap": Versatile Rory Scannell still adjusting to life in the top flight

A product of Munster's Academy, Scannell is quickly becoming an integral member of Rassie Erasmus' squad

Rory Scannell

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie 

When the pools were drawn for the Champions Cup last year, few would have suspected Munster would be in this position.

Racing 92, favourites to progress, were out of contention before last weekend's defeat to Rassie Erasmus's side. Munster sit top of the pool above Glasgow Warriors, ahead of their trip to Scotland this weekend.

Much was made of the emotional return to Paris, where the Irish province first learned of the passing of head coach, Anthony Foley. They honoured his memory with a resounding victory over the Top 14 side and now look more than equipped to top the pool.

There's has been a season where great responsibility has been thrust upon the players and all have risen to the occasion to honour the memory of Axel. Playing with a renewed tenacity, Munster are still a side who up until the start of the season felt that there were in a transitional period. No longer.

"It's just hard work," Rory Scannell says of his emergence at a first team player. "When you come out of school and you get a chance for your club, you try your best to stand out in those club games. Then you move onto British and Irish Cup. That's a small jump, but then the jump up to the PRO12 is a bit of a leap. 

"When you're performing well at a B&I Cup level, coaches get the confidence to through you in at a big game. Once you get your chance and you take, you look pretty comfortable there."

Scannell has been one of the shining lights this season for Munster and one who has stood out in a season of memorable team performances. His versatility stems from his desire to help the team in any capacity, even if it means stepping out of his comfort zone.

"I've gone in [at out-half] at the end of a few games this year and if I'm required to go in there I'm happy to go and do a job. There's such competition in the squad that there is always one or two players always being left out. 

"There was a few combinations we could have gone with last weekend and I was happy to cover number 10 if required.

"I played most of my rugby at 10 in school and it was only when I came into the academy that I started playing centre. It's good to add a string to the bow."

Rory Scannell showing the scars from a hard fought battle in Paris. Eight stitches were required to close up the cut on his forehead. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie 

Munster now prepare for Glasgow Warriors, a side of whom the have gotten the better of on two occasions already this season.

"Yeah every encounter we have with Glasgow are always tough games. Every encounter we have is quite a tight one. We just knicked a victory over there in the PRO12 a few weeks ago and I'm sure they'll be itching to get one over on us.

"We're under no illusions that it's going to be a very, very tough game. And whoever comes out on top is in a very good position going into the last round to top the pool.

"As a team we're in good form and we're trying our best to keep that momentum going. There's work on from last weekend and we'll be looking to rectify those as well." 

On the subject of a chance for he and his brother Niall to wear the coveted Irish jersey, he said: "We're trying our best and performing well every weekend we get given a chance by Munster. If Joe [Schmidt] thinks were good enough to go in there he'll give us a shout."