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The Clermont Challenge

25th April 2013 By Munster Rugby

The Clermont Challenge

We move closer to a huge weekend for Munster Rugby, with two Semi-Finals to look forward to, with the B&I Cup Semi on Friday night primed as the perfect curtain raiser to Saturday’s ultimate challenge, the Heineken Cup Semi Final against top French side Clermont Auvergne.

It’s 80 minutes of cup rugby and a Heineken Cup Final place up for grabs this Saturday at Stade de la Mosson and Munster are up against a side with an array of International stars that hold a 100% record in the competition this season.

We talk to some of the players as they prepare for the challenge ahead.

Peter O’Mahony, "They are hugely powerful, have great strike runners and are probably the best team in France. This is where we judge ourselves though. We measure ourselves on how we do in the Heineken Cup. That's the Munster way.”

"Playing Clermont in France is probably the ultimate challenge in the Heineken Cup. You want to impress the guy next to you on this stage. This is my first Heineken Cup semi and it’s going to be one of my hardest, guaranteed. This is the next test we face and it's up to us to pass it.”

James Downey, “This Saturday is like any other test where you want to play against the best and test yourself as a player. Fofana is the in-form midfielder this season and overall their backline is impressive, they have it all, speed, skill and strength.”

“We know they are a physical side, and that’s across the squad but we just need to match them with the physicality on the day in order to come out on top. We need to focus on ourselves.”

Tommy O’Donnell, “They have some fantastic players, household names like Sivivatu and Rougerie and more, they can score from anywhere, have pace, can offload and defend.”

“They have a pack full of hard nuts that they have collected over the years and they’re not bad in the scrums too! They are just a solid unit, a great pack and it will be interesting now to see now how we stand up to them.”

Denis Hurley, “A few of us have been through big cup games before and we definitely know going to France is a big ask, but we just need to have ourselves right and our own game plan ready for Saturday.”

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