Munster head of fitness Bryce Cavanagh admits injury prevention is at the top of his agenda in devising his gruelling pre-season programme after a glut of retirements at the end of last season.
While the long-serving duo of Mick O’Driscoll and John Hayes were expected to hang up their boots following last season’s RaboDirect PRO12, Munster also lost three Irish internationals in Jerry Flannery, David Wallace and Denis Leamy as well as Darragh Hurley to injury.
So while Cavanagh’s brief is to get the squad into as good a shape as possible ahead of Rob Penney’s arrival as director of rugby, he is conscious of the need to keep everyone in one piece.
He said: “We’re looking to progress on things we did last year with regards to our injury prevention. “That was well documented last season with a couple of the players, and guys retiring like David Wallace and Denis Leamy, and that’s still a big focus for us and we are trying to link in with the physios a lot more and work on the injury preventers like mobility, stability, and strength work.
“There’s a good little melting pot there in the middle between on the pitch and what we do in the gym, bringing in outside voices and ideas and being able to mould that with our rugby specific ideas into hopefully something that will impact on the field.
"From the other side of the earth Munster have a reputation back in Australia for their culture & their discipline, and the way they play reaches everywhere and it was no different when I rocked up. “The culture of the place is exceptional and that makes it easy to work with the players. They are willing to work, they have that work ethic, they are disciplined and they are relentless in what they do and that just makes my job easy.”