"Games like that were ones I always enjoyed, I think all players do," Payne continued, "despite the huge prize that was at stake and by prize I mean just winning, no trophy involved at all."
Looking ahead to Saturday's game Payne was able to reveal that the likes of Jerry Flannery, David Wallace, Ian Dowling, Peter Stringer, Keith Earls, Paul Warwick, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy and skipper Paul O'Connell should all be in the mix when coach Tony McGahan announces his squad tomorrow after training in Limerick.
"Keith would have played against Dragons last weekend only for a bout of food poisoning, but he's fine again and will train tomorrow. Paul (O'Connell) will also be in contention along with Wally (David Wallace) and Niall Ronan."
"Paul Warwick is fine again following a foot ligament problem ," reported Payne, " while Ian Dowling played the full 80 against Ulster A last Thursday and Jerry (Flannery) got 40 minutes with Shannon at the weekend."
Whatever about the conundrum faced in relevant positions with the return to fitness of those mentioned, the availability of Wallace, Leamy and Ronan will certainly tax the mind of coach Tony McGahan when he comes to decide his back-row, given the form of Alan Quinlan, Tommy O'Donnell, not to mention Nick Williams?
"Absolutely," says Payne with a wide grin, "that's why he gets the big bucks. "Look, it's a great position to be in at this stage. Difficult in the sense that we have to introduce players in what will be a high charged game but good news to be getting everyone back ahead of what we face in the immediate weeks ahead. It'll be the same for Leinster."
"Nick has been really unfortunate with injury since he got here. What you saw last Sunday, that type of display is what he has shown us in training. We've always known what he's capable of."
"We would view this as the ideal prep game for our visit to Northampton a week later. You couldn't ask for a better game."
"It's much harder to enjoy these games when you're on the sideline. But they're great games. Great occasions. Can't wait."