Click here for photos as Declan Kidney and Anthony Foley talk to the press ahead of Munster’s mouth-watering Heineken Cup quarter-final against Perpignan.
Pictured above: Munster captain and number eight Anthony Foley – ahead of his 74th Heineken Cup appearance – talks to the press at the Berkeley Court Hotel in Dublin. The Shannon clubman said: “I think it’s going to be a right battle. It’ll be tough up front, and it will be interesting to see out wide depending on the weather conditions. Games like this are a pure cup match, and it probably all depends on which pack comes out on top.”
Coach Declan Kidney has surprised many pundits by putting noted scrum half Tomas O’Leary in at outside centre, in place of the injured Barry Murphy, for today’s clash. Kidney has no qualms about putting his faith in the 22-year-old Corkman. He said: “Tomas is a good player, he’s showed he can play scrum half or on the wing, and he’s just a good footballer. The reason why we delayed on it (the selection) was because in fairness to Mike Mullins and Rob Henderson they’ve worked really hard to get back, but we just felt this game came too soon for them.”
Asked about Perpignan’s strengths, Kidney conceded: “When they get into the opposition half, they are very patient. They work the phases and keep the ball in hand and when a drop goal chance comes along, they are quick and able to take it. They have a strong team and a strong bench and should we get a result in what may be a low scoring game – it would be a huge day for us.”
With Dublin set to be engulfed by Thomond Park on tour this weekend, Kidney added: “It’s days like this that you get into it for, really. The big European games. There’ll be plenty of nerves, but that’s part of the adrenaline that flows going into matches like this.”
Anthony Foley and Declan Kidney at Friday’s press conference. Foley was forced to switch off a recent replay of the province’s Heineken Cup semi-final defeat to Wasps in 2004, five minutes from the end, it made such harrowing viewing. Foley said: “With five minutes left and us being ten points up, I just couldn’t watch it any more. It was a hugely deflating experience the way Wasps came back and snatched it. But, you know, that was two or three years ago. We’ve all moved on and we recognise we’ve another great chance of getting back into a semi-final (on Saturday).”
**All photos by Morgan Treacy of Inpho Photography**