Eddie O’ Sullivan, Ireland Coach, gives his verdict on what he feels will be the outcome of the Heineken European Cup.
“Can Munster win? Yes because quite simply they are good enough. They have come through the hard side of the draw and that will stand them in good stead. There is no substitute for the resilience and confidence that comes with winning tight games.
Saturday is about which team fronts up on the day, giving as good as they get and managing to remain focused and retaining accuracy of execution. The fact that Leicester will start as favourites won’t bother Munster in the slightest as they relish the underdog role.
In the same way, Leicester won’t worry that the expectation to win is there as they have been dealing with that for several seasons at domestic level and can also draw from the fact that they won last year’s final.
Leicester’s selection at halfback is crucial. For Munster’s sake, I hope they Dean Richards decides to name Austin Healey at outhalf. You know what to expect in that he tends to run a lot of ball while his kicking game is nowhere near as good (no pun intended) as Andy Goode.
I think the Healey/Goode combination at halfback would pose far more problems for Munster. Goode is the more rounded outhalf and I think his kicking game would suit the Leicester pack.
The referee’s interpretation of the breakdown could be crucial. Leicester are very good at denying opponents quick ball. Any team that can slow ball down allow themselves to muster a strong defensive alignment. Munster need quick ball and it will be interesting to note what latitude the referee gives at the breakdown.
Munster have suffered more disruption because of the injuries and that might be a factor. If given a tenner you’d find it hard to back against Leicester. Having said that a lot of tenners have been lost in the past when backing against Munster”.