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Alone They Stand, The irish captains for this year's Heineken Cup
Billy Stickland/Morgan Treacy/Dan Sheridan
Official Launch For The Cup That Cheers
10 October 2012, 5:37 pm
By The Editor
Doug Howlett and Rob Penney swopped the surrounds of UL this morning for instead, the resplendent looking Aviva Stadium, as they joined the other Irish captains and coaches for the official launch of this season's Heineken Cup that kicks off in a little over a weeks time.
Howlett's obviously been here before and although Penney had been at the stadium some weeks back for a coaches meeting, it was his first time to walk on the lush sward and he was fulsome in his praise. " It's magnificent, a really beautiful stadium and I cant wait to get back for the game on Saturday.

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."

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