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Blues can wreck Munster at ruck

THE magic and allure of this occasion never fails to work. A remarkable 43,500 tickets have been shifted for the purpose of viewing one club, Leinster, in a state of uncertainty and another, Munster, on a road of discovery.

For Leinster, coach Joe Schmidt has laid down the challenge to his players. He wants the right physical attitude to confrontation.

His captain Leo Cullen is not known for his light-hearted approach to work. He cares about what happens. He knows consistency cannot be compromised by excuses. Losing still hurts him deeply.

"The problem for me is you are on a week-to-week cycle and your mood is dictated by what happens on any given weekend," said Cullen.

"We got a right hiding down at Connacht. They just played at a different level of intensity. You could see it in their carries where they were so dominant in collisions.

"This week is different. We have plans to rectify it. There is always a lift going into a big game like this at The Aviva and there is always a big lift going into Europe as well."

Munster have been reborn under former Canterbury coach Rob Penney. There is a playing revolution under way, backs and forwards combining far away from the breakdown.

It will take time to perfect the art of 'total rugby', especially for a province that has not always welcomed the transition from tradition to modernisation. Leinster can get what they need from this one.

They can make great gains at the breakdown where Munster are struggling to get fast ball with smaller numbers to rucks. Their accuracy there has to be spot-on.

"We would like to be able to perform at a certain level and have consistency in our performance. We don't want to be up one week, down the next," said Cullen.

"That was the Leinster of old. We would hope those days are gone."

Verdict: Leinster


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