Wednesday 21 February 2018

Tigers to be kept at arm’s length

Munster head coach Anthony Foley
Munster head coach Anthony Foley

John Fallon

Both Anthony Foley and Leicester’s director of rugby Richard Cockerill have acknowledged that tomorrow’s crunch Champions Cup match at Thomond Park epitomises all that is good about European rugby.

The fixture immediately evokes memories of other great contests at the famous Limerick venue as renowned English or French sides come to do battle on a Saturday evening in the middle of winter.

“It is two really quality proper rugby clubs playing each other,” said Cockerill.

“We have got a great history against Munster for all sorts of reasons and I have a huge amount of respect for them,” he added.

Foley said that Saturday evening in Thomond Park was a great time to play a big European game and while their second round game against Stade Francais was called off, the Munster coach emphasised just how important this fixture is.

“The same game last year was against Clermont at home and we lost that and when we got to round six that was the game that cost us getting out of our group.

“Obviously this is only our second game in Europe but it’s still round three and the first of our two head-to-heads and it’s important that we focus on this game and make sure that we drive our standards.”

It’s the fifth clash between the sides in Europe but neither them has defeated the other on their home patch.

Munster can change that tomorrow evening against a Tigers side who have won five from six in the Premiership this season.

Munster have won 62 of their 66 home matches in the Heineken or Champions Cup, with Leicester the first to storm Thomond Park when they triumphed 13-6.

Leicester go into this contest with the points in this season’s Champions, averaging 34.5 points per games, and the best try-scoring return with nine scored in their two wins over Stade Francais and Treviso.

It will be a special occasion tomorrow for one supporter who will become the one millionth to attend a Munster home match in the history of the competition.

The lucky fan will receive a pair of tickets to all Munster home matches for the next five seasons.

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