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Interpro Clash ‘A Real Benchmark’ For Munster

Interpro Clash ‘A Real Benchmark’ For Munster

The Christmas series of interprovincial derby matches continues this Saturdayt when Ulster, the runaway leaders of the RaboDirect PRO12, travel to Thomond Park to meet familiar foes Munster (kick-off 5.30pm).

Speaking ahead of the game, Munster head coach Rob Penney said: “The Ulster guys are going really well, so it will be a real benchmark for us, given that they are so far in front and playing some really good, tough rugby.

“These local derbies are fantastic. I saw them (Ulster) last Friday against Leinster. Brutal, big, robust, tough, physical, clinical. All the cliches and superlatives you’re probably used to hearing abiut them every week.

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“The way they dismantled the Leinster scrum and put them under real pressure, and at times at lineout maul drives. They brutalised Leinster.”

Munster came through quite a battle of their own when they staved off a Connacht revival for a four-point win at the Sportsground last Saturday night.

Penney’s men will want to finish the calendar year on a winning note, particularly after blowing a 16-6 interval lead over Ulster when the sides last met at Ravenhill in mid-September.

The Munster players will also need no reminding that Ulster’s most recent visit to Limerick – for last April’s Heineken Cup quarter-final – ended in a memorable 22-16 victory for the northerners with Craig Gilroy scoring a fantastic first half try.

Penney is clearly relishing the prospect of hosting Europe’s in-form team, using the phrase, ‘bring it on’, when asked about the eagerly-awaited derby tie.

“They’ll be very difficult (to beat). To come away having beaten Leinster will boost their confidence even more coming to Thomond Park, not that they needed a boost,” added the New Zealander.

“Hopefully we can have lots of people there with their Christmas party hats on and give Ulster a hard time like they gave us a hard time up there (in September).”

Munster stepped up their preparations for the game with a training session in Cork yesterday. Their Ireland international contingent were absent as they are currently taking part in a two-day camp in Carton House.

Tickets for the Munster v Ulster match are priced as follows: Terrace €;20, Cat A €;40, Cat B €;30 and Family €;40. They are available to buy online here.

The Munster Rugby ticket offices will be open today (Friday) from 10am to 4pm – both Musgrave Park and Thomond Park. You can also purchase tickets at the Thomond Park ticket office from 10am to kick-off (5.30pm) on matchday.