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Dedicated staff at stadium ensure scene is set for epic

IT was all hands on deck at Stade de la Mosson as dozens of staff were enlisted to ensure both pitch and grounds are in peak condition for today's Heineken Cup semi-final.

They got to work on Wednesday morning, installing lights, wiring miles of television cable and erecting numerous corporate hospitality marquees.

Last night, with less than 24 hours before the game, teams of dedicated employees gave one final push to be certain that Munster's clash against reigning French league champions ASM Clermont Auvergne is one for the history books.

A former host venue of the soccer World Cup in 1998, Stade de la Mosson was re-vamped in 2007 for the Rugby World Cup.

A total of 31,000 will pack into its stands tonight and to offer fans who didn't get the chance to travel over a sense of the atmosphere, a camera crew of 200 will capture the magic. To make sure everything runs smoothly, 350 security guards will also be on standby.

Ticket-holders are being advised to arrive by tram, which takes 25 minutes from the city centre.

There will be food and drink stands, but organisers have advised remaining in the city centre until approximately 4pm.

Stade de la Mosson is uncovered, meaning that punters should arrive prepared for forecasted rain showers. An ERC official told the Irish Independent that Franco-Irish semi-finals in the Heineken Cup have proven to be the most electric.

And although many of the Munster players had never stepped foot inside Stade de la Mosson before yesterday, captain Paul O'Connell said there was optimism in the camp.

Irish Independent