Friday 15 December 2017

Proud English record on the line

Simon Zebo and Conor Murray go through their paces during a Munster training session in Limerick this week (Sportsfile)
Simon Zebo and Conor Murray go through their paces during a Munster training session in Limerick this week (Sportsfile)

John Fallon

Munster's main priority on Sunday will be to get their Champions Cup aspirations back on track but they will also be bidding to preserve a few records when they take on Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

It has been documented that Munster have won on both their visits to Welford Road but that is the only one of the nine English clubs they have visited in the competition where they have not tasted defeat.

Munster go into Sunday's clash having won more games in Europe's premier competition in England than they have lost but a loss against the Tigers would level that record at 12 victories and 12 defeats.

There are only three clubs that Munster have visited in England and not won against - Bath, Wasps and London Irish - but the Reds have only played those clubs away on one occasion each.

Gloucester, Harlequins and Saracens have been the clubs Munster have played most on English soil with four clashes against each, while there have been three encounters away to Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks.

Leicester are the only club they have played twice in England, winning 20-7 in 2002-03 and 21-19 in 2006-07. The 2002 final was, of course, played at the Millennium Stadium in Wales.

Munster's biggest win in England was the 24-8 triumph over Harlequins in 2001-02, while the most points they have scored against a team there was when Simon Zebo scored a hat-trick in the 51-36 victory over Northampton Saints at Milton Keynes four seasons ago.

Munster's biggest loss away to an English side was last season's 33-10 reversal against Saracens, while the game they conceded the most in was their first European game in England in 1997-98 when they fell 48-40 to Harlequins.

Coach Anthony Foley, who was on those two winning teams in Welford Road, knows how big a challenge they face but he believes they can bounce back from last weekend's loss to the Tigers.

"It can be turned around in a week, we created enough opportunities in the game. The boys played well.

"It's just having the ability to keep the pressure on the opposition and we took the foot off too many times on our own mistakes," he said.

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