Leinster skills & kicking coach Richie Murphy says their ability to win big European matches away from home gives them confidence heading into Sunday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against a star-studded Toulon team.
With a derby win over Munster at the Aviva Stadium and some breathing space created at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12, the focus in the Leinster camp switches to the south of France and the big showdown with defending European champions Toulon.
In many ways Munster were the perfect opponents for Leinster going in to this weekend’s match.
The intensity of the interprovincial game, coupled with the quality of the opponents, proved to be a tough test that Matt O’Connor’s men passed.
Leinster skills & kicking coach Richie Murphy sees the Munster game as being important in that regard, but it also represented a great opportunity to reintroduce some of the Ireland internationals that have not played with Leinster for many weeks.
“The Leinster-Munster games are always massive, massive occasions. The intensity goes through the roof, in training and in the game itself,” he said.
It gives us a great opportunity to have a look at where we really are. We made a lot of mistakes at the weekend, we turned over too much ball, especially in the first half.
“As the game went on, we became more and more comfortable, so it sets us up nicely for (Toulon).
“It was great to get back into that big match intensity under a Leinster system rather than under an Irish system, and I think we’ll reap the rewards from that this week.”
With the league clash with Munster successfully navigated, there is just the small matter of taking on last year’s Heineken Cup winners on their home patch.
Leinster have already won away in France this season, beating Castres Olympique at the Stade Pierre-Antoine – a venue where the hosts had not been defeated in a year.
Murphy believes that Leinster’s strong away performances this season could make a big difference against Toulon.
“The Heineken Cup always brings out the best in Leinster. Those challenges of trying to win big games away from home is something we’ve got used to over the last couple of years,” he explained.
“We were lucky enough to be able to pull them off this year as well (against the Ospreys, Castres and Northampton).
“It gives us a bit of confidence going in (to the Toulon game). We know it’s going to be a massive challenge and a very difficult place to go, but given a sniff we’ll be right there snapping at their heels.”