Munster Have To Lift Themselves For Tough Encounter.
7 January 2005 15:53pm
I think one of the great things we did year was to get Paul to come over to join us. Obviously having Ronan out is a loss but having a player of Paul s quality coming in makes you feel very relaxed. He plays the game we like to play, he plays the game on the line. That s what we intend to do, that s the way he s always played the game. So yes I m quite relaxed with Paul playing. I think Ospreys are a very good side and that s not just coach-speak. I mean we ve played them three times they beat us first time and the two games they lost one was by two points, the other in Cork we won by four and they played with 14 for over half the game. They lead the Celtic League and when you think they ve gone from being third in Wales at the start of the season to undisputed number ones at this stage, which says it all about them and about the sort of form they are in. In terms of personnel they have what will probably be the Welsh front row and a lot of strength in their pack. Then with Jason Spice from Wellington, Gavin Henson, Sonny Parker, Elvis Seveali i, Shane Williams and Adrian Durston at the back they have an enterprising and very good attacking backline. We played each other enough times to have a fairly good handle on each other. We know them inside-out, they know us inside-out really, so we have to try and come up with a few surprises and of course they will try and do likewise. They didn t really attack us last time but I do expect they will attack us on Saturday. The games we ve played have been very competitive. They cleaned us up very easily in St Helens early in the year and as I said the games we won were close run. So really there s little between us, two competitive sides who respect each other and that s as it should be. I wouldn t say that weather-wise they were ideal. But from a physicality aspect, yes they were. And especially last Saturday night (v Leinster) for tension and the pure intensity of the game at times. It was right up there for what we re going into this weekend. Ah I thought he did a great job. At times it s a very difficult job for him to do, I wouldn t fancy being a Munster referee referring Munster against Leinster. I don t think it s a position referees should be put into. I think there should be referees from other provinces. So under the circumstances I thought he did a good job. Obviously there s a lot of history there between the two sides but we ll be just trying to have a quiet build-up and concentrate on the 80 minutes or so of rugby. We re a very experienced squad. Everybody has been around the block we understand what goes on, on the pitch.