Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Don’t look to formbook for final: Wallace

David Wallace

Munster's David Wallace believes form and favouritism are cast aside for tomorrow's Magners League Grand Final clash with Leinster and says attitude will win the ‘battle' of Thomond Park.

Leinster arrive in Limerick feted as the best side in Europe following their stunning comeback win over Northampton in last weekend's Heineken Cup final while Munster want to end a difficult season on a high and gain reward for excellent league form since September.

It means Joe Schmidt's side start as favourites to complete an unprecedented double in a match that also has massive World Cup implications but Wallace is staying in a positive frame of mind.

“I would take the favourites tag totally out of this game," said Wallace. “It's a very unknown game and it's a very unique game.

The team who plays as well as they can, makes the least mistakes and shows up with the best attitude is going to win it.

“Everything else goes out the window.

“Form gets pushed aside and it's just an 80-minute battle.

“The Irish management team must be licking their lips. They probably couldn't have planned it any better. There are places up for grabs. You are out there, in a trial game.

“They (Leinster) will want to go into their next game protecting that mantle (of Heineken Cup champions) and going for a double as well.”

Wallace was hugely impressed by Leinster's win. "It was a fantastic game, an amazing game," he said yesterday.

“Watching Leinster down through the years you never, ever bet against them, even at 16 points.

“They are a team that can really turn it on and Sean O'Brien thoroughly deserves the European Player of the Year award. He has been one of the best — if not the best — ball carriers in Europe this season."

Wallace also pinpointed the strengths of Shane Jennings as a threat to his side’s chances.

“He's a very clever player and reads the game very well," said Wallace.

“You look at his back-row play, his pillaging, he has a lot of strings to his bow. He knows how to play the game just to get the win."

With Ian Dowling, Barry Murphy and Alan Quinlan retiring and Paul Warwick, Sam Tuitupou and Tony Buckley on their way to other clubs, Wallace says there will be an extra emotional aspect to tomorrow's encounter.

“It's the best and the worst time of the season, because you have finals at stake but at the other side you have guys leaving who you would have been friends with.

“It's certainly an emotional time of year but keeping your eyes on the prize is what's important now.”

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