We’ve been down this road before, on seven different occasions now since Paul O’Connell, in tandem with Ronan O’Gara, lifted the Heineken Cup aloft in Cardiff 11 years ago after Munster beat the tournament’s greatest side to that point in a memorable 16-13 win over Toulouse.
Peter O’Mahony sat back and admired the way Leinster found a way to win their fourth European title but Munster’s captain believes his side have to emulate Racing 92’s attempts to shut down Leo Cullen’s side to cause an upset this weekend.
The fact that Leinster were made fight much harder than had been anticipated to prevail in a pulsating Champions Cup final that went right down to the last kick off the game will, you feel, stand to their exciting young squad in the years to come.
In the raw aftermath of a second successive European semi-final defeat, there was very little a Munster captain could say to put a positive spin on yet another bitterly disappointing visit to the Champions Cup last four.
Christchurch feels very safe and secure. And the Ireland in me had forgotten how much you savour those things. The contrast from Paris is huge. There is no anger in this world. On the RER in Paris, every nationality in the world is around you.
By New Year’s Eve, we had disconnected the television at the house in Paris, so I had to slip next door to a pub-restaurant I knew prided itself on multi-screen sports. Montpellier-Brive was on one channel and off in the corner, with a few quiet seats underneath it was coverage of Racing 92’s trip down to Oyonnax.
All Blacks legend Richie McCaw is excited about Ronan O’Gara’s impending move to the Crusaders, after it was announced yesterday that the Corkman will take on the role of assistant coach with the Super Rugby franchise in January.