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Botha: Derby Games Bring The Best Out Of Players

Botha: Derby Games Bring The Best Out Of Players

All roads lead to the Aviva Stadium this weekend as Munster face their first interprovincial clash of this season’s GUINNESS PRO12 away to Leinster.

Anthony Foley’s men will look for an improved performance on last weekend’s outing which saw them lose 19-14 to the Ospreys at Thomond Park, however, a showdown with interprovincial rivals Leinster is sure to rally the troops.

Both sides have played four, won two and lost two in the league to date with Leinster just one point (12) and place (5th) ahead of Munster in the PRO12 standings.

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Munster, for their part, will hope to recreate last season’s performance that saw them overcome the Blues at Thomond Park in October, while Leinster will be looking to continue an impressive unbeaten record at Saturday’s venue – they have a perfect played 13, won 13 record at Lansdowne Road/Aviva Stadium in the history of the PRO12.

Speaking to media after training yesterday, Munster tighthead prop BJ Botha drew similarities between this weekend and what he would have experienced in his native South Africa.

“The rivalry between the two teams reminds me of when I was with the Sharks. The rivalry between the Bulls and the Sharks was huge in South Africa,” he said.

“For me now, as part of Munster, I’ve very much bought into that healthy rivalry. It gives these games that bit of an edge which is great for spectators and it brings the best out of the players too.”

While acknowledging the inside track the Irish players on both sides will have on each other, Botha warns that this cannot serve as a distraction from the team’s original game-plan.

“The players who attend the IRFU camps have a lot of knowledge of one another from 1 right through to 15. But playing against someone, as opposed to training and playing alongside them, is a totally different thing.

“I’m sure it gives those players on both sides some insider knowledge and they may have a few tricks up their sleeves, but firstly and most importantly we need to concentrate on our own game and put in a good performance.”