Quins On A Mission
28th April 2011 By Munster Rugby
“Munster are an incredible side and we’ll need to raise our game to beat them. If we’re not properly prepared, both physically and mentally, then we haven’t got much of a chance.”
That’s the verdict of Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw on their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final showdown with Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday afternoon. The Quins side who arrive in Limerick will be boosted by last weekend’s win away to Leeds, as they ran in five tries to secure a 38-3 victory.
Conor O’Shea’s men like to run the ball at every opportunity, a policy that paid dividends at Headingley on Sunday afternoon. That win in Leeds will also help to alleviate some of O’Shea’s concerns about his side’s away form. The London outfit have taken just two wins from their 11 Aviva Premiership games on the road this season.
Robshaw: “We’ve had to ask ourselves why exactly haven’t we been winning away from home. Whether it’s down to our preparation or if it’s a mental thing, I’m not sure. It’s true that you have to be tougher mentally when you’re away from home, and maybe we just haven’t been. But we’ll have to be at Thomond Park because Munster rarely lose there, as everybody knows.”
Although Conor O’Shea views Saturday’s game as an important learning curve for his young team – “it will be a fabulous experience”, he says – a side that contains the likes of Nick Easter, Danny Care and Nick Evans doesn’t travel anywhere just to make up the numbers. Harlequins believe they can topple Munster at Thomond and they’ve certainly got the required tools to do so.
Quins have made more line breaks than any other team in the Premiership this season. As a result, many are expecting a feast of tries this weekend, similar to what was seen in Brive earlier this month. While they do play an open and expansive brand of rugby, Harlequins have also conceded only 25 tries in 21 Premiership games.
O’Shea is desperate to bring Heineken Cup rugby to The Stoop next season and Harlequins' best chance of achieving that is by winning the Amlin Challenge Cup. Bath need to win just one of their two remaining games to secure that vital 6th place finish ahead of Quins in the Premiership, so their domestic destiny is now out of their hands.
“I know that Munster will deliver a big performance, as they always do at Thomond Park, but that’s the exciting thing for us. It gives this team an opportunity to see where they stand,” said O’Shea. “We’re at the start of an exciting journey with a young team at this club, and this game against Munster is a chance for us to test ourselves against a team who are still undoubtedly one of the strongest in Europe.”