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McGahan ready for Europe’s best

Guinness PRO12 Editor

27 May 2011

Munster and Leinster will clash tomorrow in the Magners League Grand Final in a season that has brought contrasting fortunes to the two Irish provinces.

While Leinster clinched the Heineken Cup last weekend, Munster crashed out of Europe at the group stages.

But the men in red have been a different beast in the Magners League and finished the regular season as run-away leaders.

There is plenty of mutual respect between the two sides and Munster head coach Tony McGahan anticipates a memorable finale.

“It makes for a great climax to the season, there couldn’t have been a better script, not with what has gone on in the last few weeks, but it’s going to be really tough,” said McGahan.

"The path Leinster took to get to the knockout stages in Europe was certainly one of the most difficult. To go through Leicester and Toulouse after that, navigate a way to a final and then come back in the second-half speaks volumes.

“To come back from 16 points in a big game like that is a tremendous reflection of the belief that they have."

McGahan reckons Leinster’s victory ranks right at the top of the best comebacks in rugby and he is more than aware that the Dubliners will be determined to clinch the double.

"They weren’t too far off in the first-half, they had a couple of passes stuck that could have opened up, but they didn’t,“ added McGahan.

“Afterwards, the power and continuity of their play was really evident and crucial.

"But to regroup and come back with a change of focus, to execute, to continue believing in what they were doing, to turn the scrum around was excellent.

"We are not focusing on trying to change anything. Two weeks ago we played some great rugby but didn’t finish off as well as we could, we left a number of tries out there and you can do that maybe against Ospreys but I don’t think you can do that against Leinster, you need to take every chance you can.

"Our try record is disappointing, we probably need to score a try at the weekend to beat them: they are a team that puts points on the board; we are going to need to get over the line.

"That’s the challenge of the game, physicality hopefully won’t be a problem for us, it’s the last game of the year and we are playing at home against probably our biggest rivals and they are coming here as European champions."