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The Final Countdown

22nd May 2008 By Munster Rugby

The Final Countdown

Munster will complete their preparations for Saturday’s Heineken Cup final with a run out later today in Limerick.

The squad will then gather at their Limerick hotel base and leave for Cardiff on a special Aer Arann Charter that is scheduled to take off at 10.30am tomorrow morning. On arrival in Cardiff they will immediately go to the Millennium Stadium for a scheduled walkabout and then continue on to their hotel 30 minutes away.

The starting XV and replacements will be announced from the Millennium Stadium at 1pm tomorrow and although Mick O’Driscoll, Tomas O’Leary and Federico Pucciariello were absent from proceedings on Tuesday all three are expected to be in consideration for a place in Saturday’s line-up.

At Tuesday’s media briefing Kidney pointing out the strengths of the side who have won the title three times said, “They are the sort of team who could beat you comfortably or you could lose by a point. They can be flamboyant or they can tough it out. So can we beat them ? Of course we can.” And when it was suggested to him that Toulouse like a lot of French sides, have a reputation for not ‘travelling well’, Kidney replied with a smile, “Well, they (Toulouse) won the title in Cardiff, they won it again in Edinburgh and again in Dublin, so I’d say they travel well enough.”

Good news for Kidney and Munster on Tuesday was that both Ronan O’Gara and Doug Howlett took a full part in training. O’Gara had been nursing an ankle injury and Howlett a toe problem that saw both left out of the game against Glasgow but neither looked in any way out of sorts and Howlett looking forward to Saturday’s game when he comes up against his old All Black teammate Byron Kelleher. Speaking to the French newspaper Le Parisien, Kelleher said,  ” If the quarter and semi finals are anything to go by, it’s going to be a great occasion and one I am certainly looking forward to. Coming here, my goal was to help Munster achieve success in the Magners League and Heineken Cup. Obviously things didn’t work out that way in the League so we’re left with this final and I hope I can contribute to a Munster win. As it stands this is the highest award I can win with a football team.”

Howlett will, he says make contact with Kelleher in the run up to the game, “Yes I will. I’ll wish him luck and then see if he can give anything away.”

And his simple advice on the best way to stop the Toulouse scrum-half ? ” Just don’t take your eyes off him. Not for a second.”

For his part Kelleher when asked his opinion on how best to stop the record All Black try scorer quipped. “Break his leg !” Naw, just kidding. You just can’t give Doug any room on the counter attack. And you cannot afford to miss first up tackles on a bloke like that.”

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