After three weeks on the road Munster will be delighted to return to their Thomond park haven for the Heineken Cup clash with French side Perpignan. And after the travails of Kingsholm where they suffered a rare decisive defeat they will be looking for their home support to give them a lift on Saturday.
One man who, in the past, would have been vital in a game like this, will be watching from the stand. Peter Clohessy hung up his boots at the end of last season after a long and distinguished career, to take his place among the legends in rugby and he will be in Thomond on Saturday urging on his former teammates Clohessy is under no illusion about the importance the supporters play in games like this. The atmosphere in Thomond is hugely important to Munster. When the crowd get behind the boys it gives them an incredible lift and they ll need it like never before on Saturday. It was the same for Gloucester last week. Their supporters were marvelous and make no mistake, it does get through to those on the pitch.
Clohessy refuses to believe that Munster have shot their bolt. Not at all. Look what they did to Neath a week previously. They re probably in the toughest Heineken Cup group and last week, Gloucester were simply outstanding. But they had to be and they knew they had to be to beat the lads. And then you look at the way the game went. We were in a great position at half time, there was a clear knock-on from a restart and then Quinny got milled in the line-out. So a few things went against us and it s those things that decide matches. I m not taking away from Gloucester s win but as I said, they had to play out of their skins, anything less just wouldn t be good enough. So that s how good a team Munster are.
On Saturday, Clohessy will take his place with his family in the Thomond Park among the Munster faithful for a game that he acknowledges is hugely important. They have to win, there s no mystery about that. They re good in situations like this but they need the support. We need to reproduce the type of atmosphere that we saw in Kingsholm last week.