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In Pics: Munster Training At Musgrave Park

In Pics: Munster Training At Musgrave Park

Click here for photos as the Munster squad train at Musgrave Park ahead of Saturday’s Heineken Cup final.

Pictured above: Munster players go through some stretching before the training session in Cork. Out-half Ronan O’Gara (stomach bug) missed training on Tuesday as a precaution.

Marcus Horan (calf), Paul O’Connell (ankle) and John Kelly (shoulder) are Munster coach Declan Kidney’s main injury concerns ahead of the clash with Biarritz. An ankle injury has kept former All Black Christian Cullen from being named in an initial 26-man squad for the final.

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Kidney said after Tuesday’s session: “Marcus took a good part in training, he scrummaged, worked in the lineouts and did the contact work as part of his programme. I couldn’t guarantee he would last 80 minutes, but I couldn’t say he wouldn’t. Hopefully, he will wake up in the morning without any adverse reaction.

“Equally with Paul and John – they trained. We’re hoping they don’t suffer any adverse reaction either, but it’s just too early to say right now.”

Lock Donncha O’Callaghan arrives for training. The 27-year-old has started all eight of Munster’s Heineken Cup games in the run-up to the final, scoring a try against Castres in October in the process.

Hooker Jerry Flannery practices his lineout throwing. The Limerick man, 27, has been ever present in Europe this season ever since he came off the bench for Frankie Sheahan in Munster’s 27-13 defeat by Sale in October. Flannery made his debut in European rugby back in 2002 when he lined out for Connacht in the Challenge Cup against Mont de Marsan.

Federico Pucciariello, Marcus Horan and Anthony Foley take a breather at training. Foley is hopeful that his side can use the experience of losing finals in 2000 and 2002 to their advantage in Cardiff on Saturday.

The number eight said: “We’re longer in the tooth now and have sampled what it’s like to lose. The one thing we have taken out of the previous two finals is the recognition that a final is just another game.

“It’s important – hugely important – but we have to treat it in isolation. We need to go out and perform to the best of our ability and not get caught up in the occasion.”

Flanker David Wallace arrives for training. The Garryowen clubman scored a try against Northampton in the 2000 decider, and also touched down against Biarritz in last season’s Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Jerry Flannery runs through a drill at training. French international Thomas Castaignede, writing in his Guardian column, rates Flannery as one of Munster’s key men.

Castaignede admitted: “For Munster, it’s hard to choose one guy who stands out. Paul O’Connell is probably the best second row in the world at the moment, but at hooker, Jerry Flannery is flying all over the field. Peter Stringer had one of his better games (against Leinster) at scrum half – he looks as if he will burst from every breakdown but he was always where it mattered.

“I feel the man who really made the difference against Leinster though, was Ronan O’Gara. There was never any doubt who would win the contest between his coolness and Felipe Contepomi’s instinctive play. Questions were being asked about him in the Six Nations, but he has the answers; now he has to do it again.”

Munster coach Declan Kidney and his assistant Jim Williams survey the scene in Cork.

David Wallace, Denis Leamy and Marcus Horan in action at Musgrave Park. Tipperary man Leamy started this season’s Heineken Cup playing at number 7, but switched to the blindside and the number 6 jersey for Munster’s last seven games in the competition. The 24-year-old two tries came against the Dragons and Leinster.

Peter Stringer runs through some stretches at Musgrave Park. If the 28-year-old scrum half fails to score in Saturday’s final, it will be the first time in four seasons that he has not grabbed a try in a Heineken Cup campaign.

Stringer, who has played 60 times in the Heineken Cup, notched his first European try against Neath in 1998, and followed up in recent seasons with scores against Gloucester, Leicester Tigers, Bourgoin and the Ospreys.

Anthony Foley gets stuck in at a ruck. Predictions that Munster supporters will out-number Biarritz followers by 15 to 1 on Saturday could come true – but whatever happens Foley, who has scored 22 tries in an equally incredible 75 Heineken Cup appearances, is always confident of a good backing.

He said: “We hear stories of people getting a flight down to Biarritz to buy tickets for the final because they were a lot easier to get hold of down there than in Limerick or Cork. We’re told that flights and hotels are booked solid but it doesn’t matter how the fans are getting there, they are going to get there.”

**All photos by Donall Farmer of Inpho Photography**