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Leinster to throw everything at Munster

Guinness PRO12 Editor

23 May 2011

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt says his side will be ‘throwing everything’ at Munster in Saturday’s Magners League Grand Final.

Leinster were crowned European Champions with victory over Northampton Saints at the weekend but Schmidt insists that hasn’t lessened their appetite for Grand Final glory.

"This isn't the end for this team, but merely a stepping stone to more success," said Schmidt ahead of what should be a mouth-watering match up at Thomond Park.

"This Leinster squad wants to create its own history and that's why they will be throwing everything into the chance of doing the double at the weekend."

And Munster can rest assured that the new kings of the continent won’t give up on that double dream even if they fall behind in Limerick.

Munster are unbeaten on home soil in the Magners League this season but Leinster showed in Cardiff on Saturday that they have the heart and character to overcome even the greatest of odds.

Trailing 22-6 at half time, Leinster looked dead and buried against a Saints side who had already crossed for three tries inside the opening 40 minutes. But Schmidt’s men hit back in stunning style, scoring 27 unanswered points to triumph 33-22 at the Millennium Stadium.

"We weren't allowed to play really in the first half, and we then we didn't allow ourselves to play either," added Schmidt.

"I think there were six unforced errors from us, especially after line breaks when we really should have done better with the ball.

"If we'd have held on to the ball and kept the pressure on in that half, then we would have been ok I think.

"The other thing in the first half was the scrum. We really found it difficult to keep them down and, once they were up, we kept going backwards.

"They were two really difficult things for us. That made it all the more challenging but we coped much better in the second half.

"We got together at half time and said, 'Right lads, if we hold on to the ball, construct some phases and start to get the tempo of the game and our rhythm going, there are opportunities out there. We've broken their line a few times and all we need to do is hold on to the ball beyond those line breaks and they'll either make an error or we'll get over the line.'

"I had a chat initially and then the players took it forward from there because in the end they've got to do it on the field, and they did it pretty well."

Leinster will have to do things equally as well if they are to make it an historic double in five days time.

Last season’s beaten Grand Finalists have already lost at Thomond this year, falling to a one-point defeat thanks to Ronan O’Gara’s last-gasp penalty in early April.

That narrow reverse remains vivid in the memory and another defeat to their bitter rivals in the season’s finale would make it far harder to enjoy the summer break.