Tyrone Howe: Munster can once again hold their nerve and win on French soil
Published 13/01/2011 | 08:00
Ravenhill will not be the only location that hosts a potentially all or nothing game at the weekend.
Heineken giants, Munster, face their own date with destiny against Toulon on Sunday, but their challenge is even more difficult given that they are set to enter the cauldron of Stade Mayol.
Toulon are the surprise leaders of Pool Three, courtesy of an away victory against London Irish, something that Munster failed to achieve.
As a result, if Toulon win with a bonus point and the Ospreys lose, the French side will be guaranteed to top Pool 3.
Alternatively, if Toulon win, Munster get no losing bonus and the Ospreys lose, then Toulon would qualify.
A year ago, rugby pundit Stuart Barnes incurred the wrath of the Munster supporters by writing that Munster were over the hill and that their match away in Perpignan would prove this definitively.
The response was classic Munster.
At a virtually impregnable venue, Munster came away with a bonus point victory.
Apart from Toulouse, there is no other team in Europe capable of such a result.
While Toulon will target the Munster front row cruelly exposed in last season’s semi-final by Ulster’s opponents, Biarritz, Munster will travel with confidence and self-belief.
This is founded in the knowledge that they stood up physically against the same opponents in Round Two and demolished the French spirit at Thomond Park.
I am backing Munster to prove Mr. Barnes wrong for another season.