O'Connell: We must do justice to new-look Thomond
Published 03/10/2008 | 00:00
MUNSTER captain Paul O'Connell is hugely excited by the prospect of running out at the redeveloped Thomond Park tomorrow evening when Munster take on Glasgow in the Magners League (7.0).
The Munster U-20s played their Ulster counterparts at the stadium last Friday but tomorrow marks the first outing for the province's flagship team and O'Connell has been impressed by all aspects of the redevelopment.
"It's great the way it's been redeveloped and it looks fabulous," said O'Connell. "They left the terracing on either side, along with the stands, which is very important. A lot of stadiums they lose the terracing and lose atmosphere as a result.
"I love the way it was done on budget and on time, it's a symbol of the way Munster want to be and we hope as a team when we get in there we can do it justice."
The stadium's capacity has been increased from 12,500 to 26,500 and interest in this occasion is evidenced by the fact that this match is a sell-out -- unthinkable in this competition a few seasons ago.
Munster have made a superb start to their Magners League campaign with four wins from four while Glasgow have lost two of their four matches, including a 15-8 defeat to Connacht in Galway.
However, they posted an encouraging 34-20 victory over Llanelli Scarlets in Glasgow last weekend and coach Sean Lineen is adamant that his team are not going to Limerick to make up the numbers.
"We want to go to Munster on Saturday night and do Glasgow and Scottish rugby proud and not be lambs to the slaughter," he said.
"In front of a huge, sell-out crowd and live TV, we have quite a stage to perform on and must make sure we do not freeze.
"Munster play a brutal brand of rugby and we have to live with their intensity for the full 80 minutes. We beat them there at the end of last season so we know we have it in our locker."
Lineen is a huge admirer of Munster, although he displays a Jack Charlton-like penchant for confusing the positions and names of some of the 'Paddies', notably hooker Jerry Flannery.
"Paul O'Connell orchestrates everything from the back row and with Paddy Flannery at hooker and Donncha O'Callaghan at lock that's a lot of full Irish internationalists," added Lineen.
"Munster are not European champions twice in the last three years for nothing. With this being the opening of their new stadium in front of a full house they will be very pumped up but we have to meet that challenge head on and not budge an inch."
Lineen also revealed that the Warriors are likely to play an expansive game in Thomond Park tomorrow.
"We tweaked our game plan against the Scarlets last Friday and got what was a massive win for us, doubly so given we are going to the European champions next," he said.
"I am not going to go into details and give away specifics of our game plan but suffice to say we employed a bit more width."