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Red rag to a Red Army

Guinness PRO12 Editor

25 May 2011

Leinster’s Fergus McFadden believes his side’s European triumph will simply make their Grand Final task even more difficult this weekend.

As if travelling to Thomond Park to face their bitter rivals on Munster soil isn’t a big enough ask on its own merit, having been crowned continental kings a week earlier will only increase the size of their final challenge of the year.

McFadden, who came on as a late replacement in the Heineken Cup win over Northampton, knows watching his side triumph on the big stage will have acted as a red rag to a bull for his counterparts at Munster.

"It's in the back of our minds. We're thinking of them having two weeks to prepare for this," said McFadden ahead of Saturday’s sell-out showdown in Limerick.

"They've been able to sit on their couches, watching us walk around the Millennium Stadium doing a lap of honour. I'm sure that's fuelling their passion for what they want to bring to the match.

"These matches are always ferocious and Saturday is not going to be any different. They're going to want to justify leading the Magners League by 13 points after the regular series so we'll need to be ready for them.

"I talked to a couple of lads on the bus on the way from the stadium to the airport. And I said wouldn't it be great to beat Munster in Thomond Park next week? We're all aware of that. It's going to be a massive challenge."

But while winning in the Welsh capital will have made Munster even more determined to prevent their rivals from doing the double, there’s no doubt that Leinster are delighted to be heading west on a winning note.

Turning up at Thomond as European champs is a huge boost and McFadden wouldn’t want things any other way.

"Everyone’s got a pep in their step," added McFadden.

"Saturday was unbelievable and thankfully we came out in the second half and performed as we are capable of doing. But we know Saturday against Munster in Thomond Park will be as tough a challenge as last week.

"If you look at it, it's a final, a Leinster v Munster game, it just adds spice to it. Munster obviously have been fantastic in the Magners League, winning 19 of the 22 games. They won't want to give up that easy at home.

"It's going to be difficult. They've had a week off leading in to prepare. We have a much shorter turnaround but the buzz we got from winning the Heineken Cup will probably stand us in good stead."