Johnson fancies Munster to prevail

OSPREYS coach Scott Johnson fancies Munster to replace them as Magners League champions — despite Leinster being Europe’s form team.

“It’s a big couple of weeks for Leinster, for sure, but I’d have to make Munster favourites. They came here (to play us) and did a thoroughly professional job. They have a good history with Leinster (in Thomond Park) and I’d be surprised if they didn’t win it.”

Johnson admitted Munster had been too good for his charges, noting: “we weren’t out willed but we were out skilled.”

But Munster captain Paul O’Connell, insists his side will have to produce their biggest performance of the year to match their Irish rivals.

“It’s going to be really, really tough. They (Leinster) are very confident; they’re playing incredibly well, they have a great squad. Yes, we’re going to be at home, and in terms of Irish rugby it’s going to be a very big day, but we’re going to have to produce the big performance.”

Coach Tony McGahan was equally low key, determined not to let a relatively high quality semi-final performance raise hopes too high. “We would need to raise the stakes, no doubt about that. They’re playing with a lot of confidence, they’re dynamic in the breakdown area, dynamic in their carrying and they have a really settled side that has been playing very good rugby.

“They (Leinster) have come through a really tough group (in the Heineken Cup) and they’ve been the most consistent and probably the best team in Europe this season, so it’s a real tough one for us.”

But McGahan did see Saturday’s performance as a positive compared to the previous couple of games. “It (the display) was a better balance of what we’re trying to do, we had a lot more patience, intensity and purpose; we were more direct and when the opportunities presented themselves we were able to take them.

“Yes, we would have liked to take a few more but that’s the pressure of semi-finals; we need to be a lot more accurate and clinical if we want to get a win in two weeks time.”


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