Saturday 7 December 2019

If we all perform our roles to the letter, we will see off Toulouse

Player Diary

Munster pair Dave Kilcoyne and Dave Foley get to grips with Jamie Heaslip during the game against Leinster at the Aviva last weekend
Munster pair Dave Kilcoyne and Dave Foley get to grips with Jamie Heaslip during the game against Leinster at the Aviva last weekend

Dave Kilcoyne

Every week we say that we don't look past the next opponent but there is no doubt tomorrow's game has been at the back of everyone's mind since the end of the group stages.

It's a Heineken Cup quarter-final so it will be tough from the first minute to the last. But it's a massive occasion and it is our biggest game of the year so far – by a long distance. Toulouse have had a few right battles lately, but I'm sure they'll be looking at tomorrow as their biggest test of the season to date as well.

People sometimes say that some of the French teams don't put as much emphasis on the Heineken Cup as other countries, but not Toulouse. They are four-time winners, and are steeped in the traditions of the competition. I believe they bring a good support travelling with them so it should be a day to remember for everyone involved in Munster Rugby.

But before we say too much about tomorrow, we might as well get last weekend's game against Leinster out of the system first. It was an annoying result and, on balance, it was hard to pick which team deserved the win more. I think our scrum operated very well, though. There has been plenty of chat about it since and there were certainly penalties that we could have been awarded – we'd have gotten them on another day, I think.

On one occasion we were inside their '22' and we ran them off the ball and we got no penalty for it. In the end the ball popped out the back and we played it anyway, but it would have been nice to be rewarded when the move broke down.

BATTLE

It is something that annoys all props, when you feel like you have the upper hand like that and you don't get the rewards. We always knew it was going to be a battle going into the game, but I always back myself and the Munster scrum to come out on top.

We felt we did that. I'd like to think that any fella who really understands how the scrum works would have realised we were the dominant force.

We know we gave them a tough day at the office and we'll be trying to do the same again tomorrow.

With regard to the yellow card, it was frustrating. I don't know if I was I held or not in the early part of the ruck, but I couldn't break loose. That said, once I did, I should have made more of an effort to get out of there.

I rolled my body out of the ruck, but I had taken a bit of a wallop to the head at the same time. So it wasn't as straightforward as it looked and I thought I was unlucky to be carded. And then to see them score the try just after I was gone made me even more annoyed with myself.

Overall, you have to say they were very good at the breakdown, they were that little bit cuter than us and that's an area that we'll have to scrub up on ahead of this weekend.

As soon as the game was over on Saturday, it was straight into an ice bath for me. I spent a good while stretching as well and then I got into my compression gear to try and get myself ready.

The compression suit is great for recovery and we are really encouraged to wear it after every game. I'd even wear it to bed the night after a game and take it off the next morning.

Even if it gets rid of an extra 10pc of the soreness after a game then it's definitely worth it. Anything that gets the preparation for a big game under way quicker is crucial.

Despite the loss to Leinster, we can take plenty of positives from the game. Our set-piece went well, it was a tight game in the end and their breakdown work probably edged it.

We were a little inaccurate in certain aspects of our game, especially off first-phase moves and that's something we need to get right for Toulouse. It was not a week to be dwelling on defeats, we have bigger fish to fry now, so there is no one feeling sorry for themselves.

While I was looking forward to the possibility of scrummaging against Census Johnston for the first time, injury has ruled the Samoan out of the equation.

Census has experience and a proven track record. He is a tough nut, a big boy, but so too is Yohan Montes – the man I'm now likely to face. I'll have my work cut out for me, but at Munster we back ourselves and I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Even if I had arrived down from space this week, I'd know there was a big game coming up with the ticket-fever breaking out. Sometimes people think because you play for Munster that you get a big pile of tickets, but unfortunately that's not the case. I wish it was!

There is huge demand for tickets and it's the same in my own house. We get a couple of tickets for each game and the option to buy a few more, but even at that, it was hard to keep the Kilcoynes happy this week.

Earlier this week, a few of the UL Bohs lads took part in a Q and A in aid of the Crumlin Children's Hospital. It was a right good night at the clubhouse.

It was good to meet up with all the Bohs lads and have a bit of a laugh ahead of the weekend. With the money going to such a good cause it was a great way to break up the week.

And tonight we'll all be keeping an eye on twitter updates as the 'A' team take on Leinster in the B&I Cup. Because we are playing tomorrow we won't be there, but we'll be shouting them on from a distance. It's a huge weekend for the squad.

I won the B&I Cup two years back and it still means a lot to me, and I know it's the same for the lads who'll be playing tonight. It's a huge weekend all round.

Everything is geared towards getting a win tomorrow. I have a job to do, we all have jobs to do, and if we complete them to the letter, we should emerge victorious.

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