All was calm in the Munster team hotel, the splendidly placed Les Flamants Roses Hotel in Canet overlooking the Mediterranean, as team and management went about their final preparations for today’s massive clash with USAP.
But as far as the locals are concerned down in the shade of the Pyrenees there will be only one outcome to today’s encounter between their beloved Perpignan and Munster.
The very idea of anything other than a home victory isn’t given the slightest consideration by any of the local supporters who simply aren’t used to USAP losing at home. The last time they did, in this competition was when Lawrence Dallaglio led London Wasps to a famous victory but their record here is formidable to say the least.
Munster landed in Perpignan yesterday and following a quick foray into the Centre Ville made their way to the Stade Aime Giral for the routine walk-about. It was bitterly cold and very windy there yesterday evening but Sunday dawned bright and sunny and the forecast is for the day to remain that way although the wind is meant to increase ahead of the 4pm kick off.
The five changes Perpignan have made are not expected by them to cause any decrease in the tempo they promise to bring to today’s game while Tony McGahan keeps faith with the selection that secured victory last weekend.
Munster: P Warwick; D Howlett, K Earls, L Mafi, D Hurley; R O’Gara, T O’Leary; W du Preez, D Fogarty, J Hayes; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell capt; A Quinlan, D Wallace, D Leamy. Replacements: D Varley, D Hurley, T Buckley, M O’Driscoll, D Ryan, N Ronan, P Stringer, J de Villiers.