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Countdown to Gloucester

3rd April 2008 By Munster Rugby

Countdown to Gloucester

Munster will complete their Heineken Cup quarter final preparations later today with a training run in Limerick and coach Declan Kidney will then finalise his starting 22 for the clash with Premiership leaders Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday (5.30pm).

Kidney named a virtually full strength 27 strong squad after training in the University of Limerick on Tuesday after all those who had been in action against Connacht reported fit and well for a training session conducted in front a large attendance at a sunny Sports Bowl in UL.

Speaking of the situation that sees him with such a strong squad to select from Kidney said, “We have a great squad here both on and off the pitch.  And yes its a huge credit to everyone in the backroom team. In our strength and conditioning department, in our coaching department, the medical department, to get to this stage of the season with so many fit players. Its just good advice out of them that has us arrive at this part of the season with that choice to make.”

In terms of what’s required against Gloucester Kidney says, “We have to be very wary of turnovers. At least 25% of their tries come from turnover ball so we can’t afford to let that happen on Saturday. There are other areas as well and we’ve worked on to improve and Saturday will tell us if we’ve managed to do that.

“As you would expect at this level at this stage of the competition a side like Gloucester they can attack you in most parts of the game. They have a strong scrum, they’re all very good ball handlers. They are a strong from 1-22, if Rory Lawson comes off they’ve Gareth Cooper to bring on. Is it Olivier Azam, Jeremy Paul or Andy Titterrell coming in at hooker. They’re well able to play from side to side as they’ve shown against us in the past. And they play it up front as well.  They can challenge you in most facets. They have a good kicking game in Ryan Lamb and they have a very good counter attack game . They are just what you would expect at this stage of the competition, they’re a very good all round team. “

In regards the atmosphere that is generated by the famous Shed, Kidney says, “It’s the reverse of our own place, the Shed generates a great atmosphere but what you have to do is start looking forward to it. Not let it consume you. If you go into it, fearing it, then it will just consume you and the game will pass you by. So better to go in saying,   ‘aren’t these the days I trained for, these the day I look forward to.’ 

 But it’s going to be difficult no question of that. You only have to look at our last two visits there to realise what we’re up against.”

After training today the Cork based players will remain in Limerick and tomorrow morning depart Shannon mid morning for the trip to Gloucester Airport.

 

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