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Burke Raring To Go

4th January 2005 By Munster Rugby

Burke Raring To Go

“We re a fantastic squad of players and the mood within the camp is brilliant. It s going to be a fantastic day on Saturday and I m just thoroughly looking forward to it.” – Paul Burke.

At Thomond Park yesterday, Paul Burke, faced the media with the same assurance that he has shown against opposing players and explained why he is looking forward to Saturday s match. “It is of course very unfortunate for Ronan to break a bone in his hand last week in the manner that he did it. I don t think he knows when he actually did it.

“Of course it s a loss for the team. He s a class player. He s been playing very well this year. Fortunately for me I ve been part of every game this year with Munster, be it playing or on the bench and I have the confidence of the team and the management.

“So really to me it s just another game. It s a Heineken Cup game, it s a very important game for Munster but my focus will be the very same as a Celtic League game. I m thoroughly looking forward to it. It s a big opportunity for me.

“It s these games I wanted and what made me make the decision to come over. To get this opportunity is unfair on Ronan but we re a squad. We re not a team of individuals and we will get injuries throughout the year. So it s a matter of guys stepping up and performing at this level and I am very confident that I will.

“My form is pretty good right now. Things have been going well for me. We ve had a great run in the Celtic League and in the Heineken Cup, so in terms of form, yes, I m happy with where I m at right now.

“This is of course another step up from Celtic League. We ve played Ospreys three times this year so we know what we re up against. Our focus is still the same. We work hard both on and off the field – with our video analysis – to be prepared as best we can.”

Asked by Len Dineen about his experience of playing at Thomond Park, he remembered the first time. “I first played in Thomond Park for England Schools in 1991, we won 15-0 that day. I remember I scored 11 points.”

” I remember you scored a great try.” Dineen interrupted.

“Dropped a goal as well,” said a smiling Burke. “It was a memorable day for me, what with my family being Irish, so I had a lot of connections there. I think that day we had about seven or eight Irish qualified players playing for England.”

It was an Ireland Schools side whose back-row included the man sitting to Burke s right, Anthony Foley and Foley unlike his former Schools opponent, is well versed in the Thomond atmosphere but Burke had a taste of of it in the last Heineken Cup game.

Yes, it is fairly special. Unique. Having experienced the atmosphere against Castres from the bench it was immense. The crowd were fantastic and we need more of that come Saturday.”

So far the experience of being back in Munster is one the number 10 is enjoying.

” We re a fantastic squad of players and the mood within the camp is brilliant. Regardless of who s playing everyone backs each other. As I said earlier we re not about individuals we re about being a team and striving to be the best. You will pick up injuries and guys will lose form and it s a matter of having the strength in depth in the squad for players to come through and keep that momentum going and I believe we have that in Munster.

” It s going to be a fantastic day on Saturday and I m just thoroughly looking forward to it.”

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