These are five cup finals Munster have to win – Peter O'Mahony
PROFESSIONAL pride sparked an unequivocal reply from Munster captain Peter O'Mahony when he was invited to suggest his side's probable response against Gloucester at Thomond Park this weekend.
O'Mahony took a few seconds to properly gather his thoughts, then and spoke very deliberately: "There will be a response."
The flanker illustrated his point by offering a thumbnail sketch of his team-mates' appraisal of their performance against Edinburgh.
"There was a forum in Monday's meeting for fellas to voice their opinions and they did," explained O'Mahony.
"We're a proud team and that performance and result hurt us. It's professional sport, so you have to move on but you don't forget.
"The reality is that we have five cup games now we have to win if we are to stay in this competition that means so much to us as players and to our club."
The captain is a throw-back to the days when those who marched in Munster's colours did so with a chip on their shoulder. It was what gave them their renowned edge.
Although only 24 years of age, he epitomises the characteristics of the revered Munster warrior.
He wasn't involved on Saturday but feels slighted at the display. Paul O'Connell, he revealed, is smarting – "Paulie's a proud man, losing four line-outs doesn't sit well" – as are all his colleagues.
O'Mahony's return will inevitably inject a dose of intensity and energy to Munster's play.
"We want to show people that a performance like that against Edinburgh does affect us, does hurt," he said. "We've talked about the need to get a physical presence felt on Saturday and really do the jersey proud.
"There's no beating around the bush. Gloucester in Thomond Park does have a special feel to it but the focus has to be on ourselves and what we can do. It's about setting our own standards and then living up to them."
Asked to identify just one area where O'Mahony will demand change, he didn't hesitate.
"Physicality. It's not about a game plan or anything like that. No one mentioned the game plan when we won against Leinster," he said.
"Our game is based around our physicality. We didn't impose ourselves against Edinburgh. When that happens, regardless of what game plan it is, you're going to be in trouble. You have to win the collisions. If you don't you're going to look ordinary. We didn't win those collisions on Saturday."
O'Mahony is set to be reinstated to the Munster team after being 'stood down' as a precaution last weekend after taking a blow to the head against Leinster.
"The decision to sit out the game was taken on the back of the best medical knowledge and was the right course of action," he said.
"Having said that, watching the game from the sideline and not having an input was tough to take, certainly. You want to be out there and be able to make a difference.
"I'm 100pc now and raring to go. I'm looking forward to getting my Heineken Cup season off and running. This is a competition we all grew up with and cup rugby is what we've all been reared on.
"The positive from Saturday is the losing bonus point. Who knows how important that will end up turning out to be?"