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“…Our Collective Will Hopefully Outdo Their Individuals”

Munster are going into unchartered territory this week where they are underdogs even though they are at home in a European Cup quarter-final.

Munster’s injury crisis, in tandem with Toulon’s demolition of Clermont Auvergne at the weekend, has led many to believe that Toulon are favourites for the clash on Saturday.

The southern province will be backed by a raucous sold-out Thomond Park in the hope that they can reach yet another European Cup semi-final.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan hinted on Monday that his side will need to be smart in how they attack Toulon, and Ian Keatley, who will hope to steer his side to victory on Saturday, echoes his boss’ sentiments.

“They’ve got some really key players and they get big turnovers at key points so we’re making sure that we’re still attacking but we need to be smart about it, we can’t be going off on our own, going on mazy zig-zag runs, we need to be smart in how we attack them and as I said I think our collective will hopefully outdo their individuals.”

The collective is very much part of the Munster ethos and there’s no writing off this team even when the odds are stacked against them. Logic tends to go out the window when Munster play in this competition, so the unbelievable could well and truly happen in Limerick on Saturday.

For Keatley, this isn’t his first time playing against the French heavyweights, he started against them in the 2014 semi-final loss in Marseille where he kicked 11 points but Munster were on the wrong side of a 24-16 scoreline.

“There were a few key moments in that game, I remember I had a kick from halfway just to take the lead and if you get ahead of a French team or if you get ahead of any team, they sort of have to start pushing the game a little bit, they can’t be as throwing the offloads or making the passes…so I think that’s going to be key for us at the weekend, it’s to start really well and try to put them under pressure.”

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter