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Kidney Bracing Munster For ‘Another Huge Game’

Kidney Bracing Munster For ‘Another Huge Game’

The games are coming thick and fast for a double-chasing Munster side, but their coach Declan Kidney is quietly relishing a chance to put one over on his former team Leinster at the RDS on Saturday.

Munster could put a dent in Leinster’s league title ambitions and keep their own ones alive by winning the latest installment of the provinces’ red hot rivalry.

When the sides met at a rain-soaked Musgrave Park in November, Leinster fought their way to a 10-3 win for their first success on Munster soil since 1998.

The victory also moved Michael Cheika’s men to the top of the Magners League table and they have been getting more and more comfortable at the summit as the weeks progress.

Despite the confidence and morale gained from last weekend’s Heineken Cup quarter-final win at Gloucester, Declan Kidney is wary of the trip to the capital.

“Leinster have beaten us at home earlier on in the season and there is no doubt in anybody’s mind the size of the task ahead of us – it’s just going to be another huge game.

“One week we’re playing the team that’s top of the Guinness Premiership, next thing we’re playing the team at the top of the Magners League.

“Every game is a tough game at this stage of the season and it presents different challenges in the way the teams attack and in the way the teams defend,” admitted the Munster boss.

Leinster’s attack seems to be in perfect working order, although they remain without first choice centres Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy.

Kidney added: “Leinster’s last two wins have been two huge wins. To go over to Llanelli, especially the night that was in it, and also their home win against Cardiff. Those were two big wins.

“I think you have to give credit where it’s due, they are where they are because they deserve to be there. They’ve shown good consistency during the season and we just want to make sure that we don’t end up on the losing side twice in the one season against them.”

While bragging rights may be important, Munster know they will have to pace themselves over the coming weeks as they face into games against Leinster, the Ospreys, Saracens and Ulster – all in the space of 17 days.

But excited by the prospect of those fixtures, Kidney admitted: “That’s why you get into rugby – for these big games. That’s why we need the squad that we have because we couldn’t compete otherwise.

“We’ll have to see who pulls up best come Friday. It’s important for the players to be looking forward to each game so that they play to the best of their ability.

“I know one thing, I have 41 fellas all looking for places. We’ll just have to judge on Friday to see who is best to go.”

Munster trained in Cork on Thursday morning with their main injury worries being prop Marcus Horan (back) and flanker David Wallace (facial injury).

One boost, ahead of that arduous match schedule, is that Ireland-capped centre Barry Murphy’s hamstring is “getting stronger each day” according to the Munster management.