18/04/02.Leading the League table with five points, Leinster can virtually ensure themselves a second trophy to add to the Celtic League Cup, if they can beat Munster in Musgrave Park on Friday
Following their August victory over Ulster in Donnybrook, Leinster lead Munster by one point and with just one remaining game left – away to Connacht – victory on Friday would go a long way to seeing them crowned Guinness Interpro champions for the first outright time since 1996.
However their task is not helped by injury to key players such as Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie, Shane Horgan and Victor Costello but it does give Matt Williams the opportunity, for example to try Gordon D’Arcy at full back and utilise the burgeoning talent of David Quinlan in the centre.
From a Munster viewpoint this game gives them the opportunity to avenge that Celtic League final defeat but more importantly perhaps get things right for Beziers and the following weeks’ clash with Castres. ” This game would be important from several points of view ” offered Jim Williams, ” Obviously it’s a championship game and we want to win all our games. But it also affords us the opportunity to get our cohesiveness back. We haven’t played together since the quarter final so we badly need this game and this type of quality opposition.” .
Munster Dominic Crotty; John Kelly, Rob Henderson, Jason Holland, Anthony Horgan; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, John Hayes; Mick Galwey capt, Paul O’Connell; Jim Williams, David Wallace, Anthony Foley.
Replacements. Martin Cahill, James Blaney, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, Mike Prendergast, Mike Mullins, Jeremy Staunton.
Leinster. Gordon D’Arcy; John McWeeney, Brian O’Driscoll, David Quinlan, Peter McKenna; Nathan Spooner; Brian O’Meara; Reg Corrigan (Captain), Shane Byrne, Paul Wallace; Bob Casey, Malcolm O’Kelly; Aiden McCullen, Keith Gleeson, Eric Miller
Replacements: Peter Smyth, Peter Coyle, Leo Cullen, Liam Toland, Ben Willis, Simon Keogh, James Norton