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Munster Will Have To Show Mental Toughness

Munster Will Have To Show Mental Toughness

Munster enter the penultimate round of the RaboDirect PRO12 knowing that every league point is crucial as they bid to qualify for the semi-finals.

With Leinster and Glasgow Warriors ahead of Munster in the standings by six points and one point respectively – and Ulster just three points behind – the province need a winning performance this weekend.

It is a lot to ask following last Sunday’s physical encounter away to Toulon in the Heineken Cup, a tournament which began on a losing note for Munster back in October when they lost 29-23 to Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

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Meggetland is the venue for Saturday’s round 21 tie and Edinburgh come into it on the back of a 37-34 derby defeat to second-placed Glasgow. Alan Solomons’ charges ran in four tries and picked up two bonus points.

Speaking after training today, Munster head coach Rob Penney has no fresh injury concerns following a full team medical review in the aftermath of the Toulon clash.

Penney said that Edinburgh are ‘a good side’ and they will be ‘even more potent with a couple of guys back from injury’.

“They’ve always been tough in physicality and if it turns into a physical battle they’ve got a lot of strength, power and experience.

“What they do, they do very efficiently and if we don’t start preparing mentally from here, right now, they can sting us easily.”

Veteran lock Donncha O’Callaghan also made reference to the mental strength needed towards the end of the league campaign.

“It’s all about the mental challenge. We’re not going to get any fitter or stronger, or understand our plays any better at this part of the season,” he explained.

“It’s that mental switch-over to drive on and get a victory to keep you in the business end of competitions.”

Prop James Cronin returned to action against Toulon following an ankle injury and is wary of what Edinburgh can produce.

“We learned at the start of the season to give Edinburgh the respect they deserve, with them beating us at the start of the Heineken Cup,” he commented.

“We need to hit the field all guns blazing – we have to, we have no choice. It’s not easy, they’re a robust physical pack with a world class number 9 in (Greig) Laidlaw.”