Donncha O'Callaghan
Donncha O'Callaghan
Looking Forward To New Horizons
4 April 2011, 12:31 pm
By The Editor
Munster set off this morning from Shannon for what has been, for the last number of years, a regular trip to France but on this occasion something of a new frontier.
Normally these weekends bring forth Heineken fare but tomorrow they face into the Amlin Challenge Cup and a first ever meeting with two time finalists Brive.

And if it's a competition they're not familiar with it's one they certainly won't sniff at according to Donncha O'Callaghan "No, it's not where we set out to be, no point in denying that. The Heineken Cup is the most important competition for us. It's every club's goal to play in it, Brive have spoken this week about how they'd love to be in it. So we're no different."

"We have a great tradition in it that sadly ended this year but that's done with now. The thing is, when people ask are we facing into this weekend thinking of the Heineken Cup, we're not. And is there a hangover, there's not. Yes there was but we're well past that."

"We're getting on a plane this morning to go play European rugby. We'd be feeling fairly sore if we were all sitting at home this morning with no game this weekend."

If anybody was watching the first Amlin quarter final last night with Clermont defeating La Rochelle 23-13, in what was a very tough and close encounter, they will fully recognise the task at hand for Munster after Brive won comfortably against La Rochelle last week.

"Brive have won the Heineken Cup also and they're going to be as tough as you'll get at this stage. And you only have to look at the sort of teams that are in this Amlin Cup. Clermont, Stade (Francais), Montpelier, Harlequins, Wasps? I mean any of them could win the Heineken. And I think Brive have beaten Clermont and Stade already so we're under no illusions about the task we face."

Munster will of course be without Paul O'Connell and O'Callaghan will pack down with fellow Corkonian Mick O'Driscoll. "Of course Paulie's a loss, any side would miss him. But Micko is top drawer, a quality player, a great competitor, excellent line-out player, and there's no fear there."

Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter Finals:
Result: Thurs. 7th La Rochelle 13 Clermont 23

Fri. 8th Harlequins v Wasps, Twickenham, ko 7.45pm
Fri. 8th Stade Francais v Montpellier, Stade Charlety, ko 8.45pm

Sat. 9th Brive v Munster, Stadium Municipal, 2pm

All kick off times local to where game is being played

Semi Finals to be played from 29th April to 1st May:

Clermont v Stade Francais/Montpellier
Brive/Munster v Harlequins/Wasps

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