23 Apr 14
This weekend the 16th Man takes to the seas and skies as the Red Army #InvadeMarseille for the Heineken Cup semi-final. Here's your guide to what's going on and how to get around Marseille.
The captain and coach did the obligatory round of photographs before moving up to the Havelock Suite where Jean-Pierre Lux and CEO Derek McGrath both spoke before the player/coaches media interviews began.
Speaking about progress to date Howlett said, "We got off to a good start to the season but took a little step sideways at the weekend against the Ospreys . It (the defeat) certainly hurt but more so in some of the way we played the game.
"But it was a wake-up for this weekend and the weeks ahead. You can always do without performances like that but we'll take what we can from that game, learn from it and and put those lessons to good use in the coming weeks."
Speaking about the immediate game ahead he felt that "A real challenging game like this (Leinster) is what we need to really find out where we are. These interpros give you exactly that. We had a little taste of that earlier on against Ulster where we were short by one point, a torrid affair at that and we're expecting the same this week."
And if it's the ideal lead-in to Europe how difficult does away to Racing Metro represent a massive opening challenge. ? "Yes, I guess you could say that. But for us once we take the field its the same size rugby field as anywhere else that we play. That's the approach we'll take into that.
"It's a great tournament and a great occasion and once we get through this week we'll sharpen our focus towards Racing Metro and try and put in a performance over there.
"They've a fantastic squad." he continued. "They've got a lot of depth in their team. And we know it'll be all guns blazing for them in their first game against us in the Heineken Cup.
A lot is expected of Munster once the Heineken Cup comes around but it works both ways." We're very aware of where this competition stand in people's minds." he said, " I guess the expectation also comes from within the group. We hold this competition in high esteem and we want to do well in it. The expectation within the group is really high and we'll be hoping to give a good account of ourselves."