Belfast Telegraph

Munster hope to make French toast of Clermont at Thomond

By David Kelly

History may beckon for Munster against Clermont tonight among the familiar, foggy breaths of their Thomond faithful but Anthony Foley's men will only concentrate on conquering the present.

A ton of triumphs may beckon by late evening to freight early Christmas cheer for the locals; Foley and company will merely focus on the manner in which their qualification hopes may have ameliorated in the meantime.

In all, 23 French teams have visited the famous old ground but none have emerged with credit; the sequence began so long ago that current international referee, Tipp's John Lacey, was a try-scorer (Bourgoin, September, 1977).

Munster have been indiscriminate in their dizzying deliverance of humble pie to visiting French foes; in all, 11 of their finest clubs - some of them, perhaps, not so - have been sent home with wagging tails; humiliation has been exhaustive for Castres, defeated five times on their ignominious travels here.

However these two games are about seizing the initiative; both will be eyeing a home win each; thereafter the head-to-heads will be the key factors, for example, which team can deny the other a bonus point or, perhaps, acquire one of their own.

"These are two absolutely massive games," says Munster's Simon Zebo. "I am sure after the back-to-back games we will get a real fair picture of who is in the driving seat, and we want that to be us.

"We know that we are going to need to put in two massive performances to be where we want to be in the table come Christmas," he adds.

Munster, despite an opening brace of wins, need to up their game tonight.

Belfast Telegraph

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