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A Game of Backs And Forwards ?
1 January 2005, 8:41 am
The next time rugby supporters get to see this many Irish internationals in action at the same time will be in the course of the Six Nations championship.
The next time rugby supporters get to see this many Irish internationals in action at the same time will be in the course of the Six Nations championship.

And for most they will watch them on television because tickets simply will not be available. So that s why Musgrave Park should be packed to capacity today for what should be an enthralling encounter as the brightest lights of Irish rugby strut their stuff.

For most observers, today s Celtic League encounter between Munster and Leinster is a simple enough equation. It s Munster pack power versus Leinster back brilliance.

It would also be hard to get too many neutrals, if there is such an animal, who going on respective performances to date, would lay their hard earned cash on a Munster win.

Leinster are seen as the coming side, with their mobile pack and all-singing, all-dancing backs. They may even be that little bit fresher than Munster. So far Leinster s frontline troops have had a cushy ride in the Heineken Cup pitted as they were against an awful Bath side and a French outfit whose performance in Lansdowne Road was more in keeping with AIL Div 3 standard than Heineken Cup.

And of course there is the Kidney factor. A superb tactician who knows the Munster lads better than anyone else. So it would be a huge surprise if Leinster opted to keep it tight and take on Anthony Foley s mates up front. And it will be a huge disappointment for those Munster folk who expect the ball to go no further than Ronan O Gara. That s not the Gaffney way and he will want to see Christian Cullen get the ball into his hands and see Mike Mullins have a pop off the man the D4s call God !! Well that is assuming Brian O Driscoll plays because at time of writing Kidney hadn t announced his side and the Leinster Press Officer suggested that their starting line-up wouldn t be finalised until nearer kick-off.

The reason for this is unclear and just seems to be Leinster indulging in a bit of silliness with the dogs in the street barking about a formation along the lines of, G Dempsey; S Horgan, G D Arcy, B O Driscoll, D Hickie, D Holwell, G Easterby; R Corrigan, S Byrne, E Byrne; L Cullen, M O Kelly; E Miller, S Jennings or A McCullen, V Costello. The experiment of using Felipe Contepomi as a full back does not appear to have worked out and Mr Dependability will almost certainly wear - and wisely so the number 15 shirt.

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