Rugby - TODAY'S STORIES - IRISH EXAMINER

Half-built Velodrome to roll out Red carpet

The ERC has assured supporters that Stade Velodrome in Marseille is ready to stage Sunday’s Heineken Cup semi-final despite a massivere development programme which is nearing completion.

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Revved-up Zebo knows fast start vital against champions

Simon Zebo believes Munster must come storming out of the blocks to produce another of their typical Heineken Cup shocks against Toulon at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Sunday.

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Burden relishing cup challenge of facing old master Botha

He may come to regret it on Sunday but BJ Botha has played a fairly significant role in developing Toulon’s Craig Burden into a top-class hooker.

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Hansen claims All Black European exiles lacking ‘mental fortitude’

All Black coach Steve Hansen has accused players who have left New Zealand to play in Ireland and other European countries as lacking “mental fortitude” while the country’s main newspaper has claimed future Irish teams will not be Irish.

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Stridgeon Toulon’s perfect fit

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal deemed the appointment of former England and Lions fitness coach Paul Stridgeon as the missing ingredient in their quest for a Top 14 and Heineken Cup double.

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Toulon won’t fear us, admits Penney

Munster head coach Rob Penney has admitted Heineken Cup semi-final opponents Toulon have nothing to fear from his side going into Sunday’s showdown at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome.

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Shades of Blacks as Paulie prepares to scale ‘massive mountain’

The mood in the Munster camp this week reminds Paul O’Connell of preparing for a Test against the All Blacks.

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You could just feel Munster all over you, says Puma captain

Argentine captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe has been sharing his experience of facing Munster in the Heineken Cup with his Toulon teammates and leaving them in no doubt about the threat they face in Marseille on Sunday.

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Copeland set to miss tour

Ireland hopeful Robin Copeland is in danger of missing the summer tour to Argentina after he was cited.

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Peter O'Mahony

O’Mahony, Toner and Trimble shortlisted for IRUPA award

Injured Munster skipper Peter O’Mahony, Leinster lock Devin Toner and Ulster winger Andrew Trimble have been nominated for the Hibernia College IRUPA Player of the Year Award.

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Damien Varley: Munster are going to

The scars of Munster’s last meeting with Toulon remain with Damien Varley but the hooker is determined the time is right for the province’s new breed of stars to make their mark in Marseille on Sunday.

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You have to respect opposition

Bryan Habana insists defending champions Toulon cannot afford to be complacent going into Sunday’s Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster in Marseille, despite their home advantage and red-hot favouritism.

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Toulon boss ‘hopeful’ Wilkinson will be fit

Jonny Wilkinson looks set to be fit to play against Munster in Sunday’s Heineken Cup semi-final after coming through training without any reaction to a hamstring injury yesterday.

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Relegated Garryowen must rebuild from top to regain place among elite

Cork Constitution are now the only club to remain a member of the top division in the All-Ireland League since its foundation in 1991/92, a season in which they captured the first of their four titles.

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Habana has inside track on Munster’s South African trio

Bryan Habana will be giving his Toulon team-mates the inside track on Munster’s South African contingent, having played with BJ Botha, CJ Stander and Gerhard van den Heever.

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Fitzpatrick home after heart scare but Ulster short of bodies

Ireland tighthead prop Declan Fitzpatrick has returned to Belfast following a heart scare which forced him off during Ulster’s defeat at Glasgow on Friday.

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