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Clash Of The Quarter Finals
4 April 2013, 11:38 am
By The Editor
While Munster line out against Harlequins on Sunday at 2pm, the Ian Costello coached Munster A side play Cornish Pirates an hour later in their British and Irish Cup quarter final.
The sides met in the inaugural final in 2010 at the Recreation Ground in Cambourne and this Sunday Munster face the Pirates at their renovated home ground, the Mennaye Field in Penzance at 3pm.

It may be a different venue but Costello believes Munster will receive a similar reception, "Last time we played them in Cambourne it was a cauldron in terms of atmosphere and we expect exactly the same again this Sunday as they get a huge crowd out traditionally on Sundays. We're expecting a lot of support for them and we're just focussing on ourselves to be ready, we've had a lot of tough places to travel to in the last few years so we know what we need to do."

As is the trend with English Championship sides they present a physical challenge and this Sunday will be no different. "That's where the challenges are with playing in this competition, we've come against Bristol in the past and Cornish Pirates have beaten us twice, we were physically out-matched in games like that but that's the challenge where this team has to get to and where they've got to develop if they want to play RaboDirect and Heineken Cup.

I think we're a little more experienced now following the past number of years and a good run in the competition last year helps. We've been good on the road and we haven't been fazed by travelling away, in fact it probably brings us together a little bit as we don't get to spend that much time together so physically we'll be well able for it and the experience in our pack should help."

"Cornish Pirates have a very strong set-piece, a big strong physical pack and they've a good 9 and their 10 is just back from injury, Bentley, who we played against before. They've a lot of speed and they are a very good side, currently top 6 and were top 4 in the Championship. They've a lot of guys coming back from injury now, 3 of them in particular coming back into the side in the last few weeks and they are big players for them.

I think they are more of a top 4 Championship side realistically but that's where we have to pitch ourselves as well. They've a lot of strengths and we've a lot of strengths so we're focussing on what we're good at and what we've done well over the last few months."

While the A side doesn't feature as a weekly match squad Costello believes they are doing enough to counter-act the lack of game time. "We don't get to play week in and week out but that's the same issue over the past number of years. We prepare accordingly and we've had an awful lot of time together in the last few weeks. We had a game against Leinster A 3 weeks ago, we did a bit of internal work last week and we're having 3 sessions together this week so preparation isn't going to be an excuse.

We've had plenty of time together and it's just a case of being organised and prepared now, with everybody knowing their role in order to overcome not playing week in week out."

"Pirates are going to build it up as us being Champions and favourites etc and we're under no illusions as to how big a task it is, and as usual we tend to do things the hard way even in terms of how we get there. We travel to Dublin, fly from Dublin to Bristol, we bus from Bristol then, all in all it's going to take us around 11 hours to get there. We'll create our own pressure by our own standards, we hold the trophy so that's the way we'll prepare and that's how we'll set out our stall."

"Our expectations will be very very high, and of course they will have their own expectations, but for us it's all about giving the performance that we are capable of, we've been speaking over the last few weeks about being the best prepared we can possibly be and we've a couple of days to go yet and we're on course for that."

And as Super Sunday moves closer with semi-final spots up for grabs in both competitions the Munster A side hope to come away with their own victory while also tuning in to positive news from London. "The timings are unfortunate and we tried to get it changed, it's a massive game against Harlequins for the whole club and we wanted to be part of that if it was possible, but it hasn't worked out that way, the home team make the call.

We won't get to see the game, there's an hour between kick-offs, but we've a job to do and we'll focus on doing that, in making sure we've got 35/40 players still competing for semi-finals come Monday.

We'll do our side of it and the boys will do their side of it in London on Sunday."

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