Munster travel to the Stade Aime Giral for the return contest against Perpignan on Sunday, well aware they will be running out into one of the most intimidating atmospheres in European club rugby – and facing the reigning French champions wounded by two defeats on the road in the opening half of the landmark 15th Heineken Cup tournament.
Last Friday’s 24-23 win in Round 3 – the boot of Ronan O’Gara supplying all their points – took Munster to the top of Pool 1 but they accept the size of the challenge coming up against a side who have lost just two Heineken Cup home matches out of 29 – including a current record run of 16 straight victories.
Munster full-back Paul Warwick said: “It was great to come away with the win in a tremendously physical contest.
“We haven’t done the maths on it just yet but we will be disappointed if we don’t come away with something from over there.
“I am not sure about the state of some of their injuries but we are assuming some of their missing back rowers will be available – and, if that includes Henry Tuilagi, that will only add even more size to an enormous pack.
“But that said, our forwards did a great job at Thomond Park in a match that was all about field position with a lot of points coming from mistakes.
“So, if we can cut out those simple errors and play in the right field positions again, hopefully we can go for the victory.
“However, their centres are world class and there are certainly no easy gaps in what is a great team.
“It is always important to have a strong start playing over in France but we know pretty much what to expect and are well used to the large and noisy French crowds, you have to hang in there and focus on getting a winning result.”
He added: “This group is very level and I can see it all coming down to the last games – though if we falter in Treviso that will be us out of the running.
“We showed a huge amount of courage to come back after their late try and Ronan’s kicking was just outstanding as he showed his true class.
“We didn’t get much going our way – the bounce of the ball and any luck – and maybe we will need a bit of that in France.
“And I think everyone knows what the Heineken Cup means to everyone involved with Munster – families plan their holidays around our games. It means so much to them and what it has done to this part of the world.”