Thursday 17 January 2019

Paul O'Connell on why huge Toulon win last week may play into Munster's hands in Champions Cup

Keith Earls is missing for Munster and (inset) Paul O'Connell
Keith Earls is missing for Munster and (inset) Paul O'Connell

Munster legend Paul O'Connell has highlighted the mammoth task ahead of Munster as they take on French giants Toulon in the Champions Cup at Thomond Park today (kick off 3.15).

This year marks the 10th anniversary since the Munster men beat Toulouse to win the Heineken Cup and it's another stern French test that lies ahead today.

Former Munster and Ireland captain O'Connell says Johann van Graan's men will sorely miss Keith Earls and Chris Farrell but is hoping Toulon may be a little over confident and complacent following their huge 49-0 win over Clermont last weekend.  

"It certainly helps playing at home from a Munster point of view," O'Connell told RTE radio.

"I would have played in a quarter-final that we would have lost at home against Ulster so it's never a done deal.

"I do think it helps the players to perform, the pressure of the home record we have helps them to perform, but they have enough injuries which is going to be quite difficult from them.

"Chris Farrell when he played for Ireland the last time was man-of-the-match and Keith Earls was a lot of people's pick for player of the tournament, he's such a clever player.

"Those two guys alone are a big loss so I think it's going to be very tough for them.

"The only thing I suppose is Toulon winning 49-0 against Clermont last week, might not be the end of the world for Munster that that happened, even though it shows how good they're capable of being.

"You'd like to think maybe Toulon would come over a little bit complacent and a little bit confident but it's going to be a very, very difficult game for Munster so it's going to be very tough."

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