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  • Fly_caster
    Anyone got the Irish Times on-line today - any articles ?

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  • Fly_caster
    <div id="article">
    <h2>Up the jumper suits Champions</h2>
    <div ="subarticle">
    By Ben Sullivan -
    Created on 18 Jan 2007</div>
    hlid=220429-><div ="NewsTeaser">

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    <div id="articleRHS"><!-
    image path =;n/Munster/oc&#111;nnell_paul.jpg-><div ="articleImage"></div>
    </div>Munster v Leicester, Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports 1
    Munster skipper Paul O'Connell insists the defending Heineken
    Cup champions will need to keep things tight when they face Leicester
    in Saturday evening's showdown for the top spot in Pool Four.
    Munster almost paid the price for attempting an expansive
    game in Bourgoin last week and were fortunate to come away from Geneva
    with a 30-27 win. O'Connell is predicting a return to the type of
    forward-dominated play on Saturday that brought them the title last
    The Irishmen are already guaranteed a place in the last eight
    - for a record-equalling ninth time - but need tobeat the two-time
    former champions tosecure a home quarter-final.
    "We don't have things to change after Bourgoin, but there are
    things we have to refine and tidy up," said the Ireland international
    "We just have to keep on doing what we are doing and tighten
    it up a bit. There was a lot of good stuff in the Bourgoin match, but
    at the same time it's a long way off the type of rugby you need to beat
    "Mistakes can happen when you have a lot of hands involved
    and we will have to tidy up a lot - and I don't think a high-risk game
    will suit when we play Leicester."
    Munster have already won at Welford Road in the group's
    opening round and are defending an unbeaten Heineken Cup record at
    Thomond Park.
    But the Tigers have been impressive of late and O'Connell is expecting a battle on Saturday evening.
    "Leicester are coming to our ground and have to win," he
    added. "That's the way they will be looking at it. They have clever,
    experienced players who find that it helps their game a lot to be in an
    all-or-nothing situation rather than doing the maths throughout the
    "It puts you in a unique situation where you have to go all out and play, so it's going to be very different from normal games.
    "Leicester are a very complete team. They are a
    well-coached, tidy, efficient, clinical team and I think those teams
    can be the most dangerous to play."

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  • Fly_ca&#115;ter

    <t></t><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="465"><t><tr><td><t></t><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="465"><t><tr><td valign="top"><t></t><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="465"><t><tr><td align="left" valign="top">@@@@SPAN>The Times@@@@/SPAN></td>

    <td align="right" valign="top">@@@@SPAN>January 20, 2007@@@@/SPAN></td>

    <h1>Humphreys is up and running in Leicester's quest to gain revenge</h1>

    @@@@SPAN>John Westerby@@@@/SPAN>

    <td height="5"></td>
    <t></t><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="465">
    <td valign="top"><div>When
    Leicester were beaten at home by Munster in the Heineken Cup in
    October, Ian Humphreys was wondering if he would play for the club
    again. The day before, he had played for Leeds Tykes in a National
    League One match against Doncaster, his third match during a month’s
    loan at the Yorkshire club.

    This was his second season since moving from Belfast Harlequins to
    Leicester and the first had not gone well, featuring only two
    inauspicious Guinness Premiership appearances. Then, against his
    wishes, he was farmed out to Leeds. “At the time, I wasn’t best pleased
    about having to go, to say the least,” he said.

    <t></t><table valign="TOP" align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><t><tr><td name="mpuer" id="mpuer"></td></tr><tr align="right"><td align="right">
    </td></tr></t></table>The future was looking
    gloomy, but on his return to Leicester, a chink of light appeared and,
    like the best running fly halves, he spotted his chance. Andy Goode was
    away with England, Paul Burke was injured and Humphreys was next in

    With self-belief restored after his spell at Leeds, he
    responded with a series of vivid attacking displays. Yesterday, the
    24-year-old was rewarded by Leicester with a new contract, and this
    afternoon he will play in the biggest game of his life as Leicester
    seek to avenge that defeat by Munster and qualify for the
    quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.

    Goode and Burke have been injured in recent weeks, but Pat
    Howard, the Leicester head coach, said that Humphreys would have been
    selected even if all his fly halves had been fit. It has been a
    spectacular rise.

    Until his recent run of form, Humphreys had been known only as
    the younger brother of David, the former Ireland fly half, who is ten
    years his senior.According to Burke, another former Ireland No 10, the
    family resemblance is striking. “He runs, passes and kicks just like
    his brother,” Burke said. “It’s quite eerie.”

    The big difference is that Humphreys Jr kicks with his other
    foot. He has the sweetest of left boots, gaining prodigious distances
    with an apparent minimum of effort, striking a rugby ball as David
    Gower hit a cricket ball. His passes are smooth and flat, he has nimble
    footwork and eye-catching acceleration. “He’s probably the best
    attacking fly half at the club,” Daryl Gibson, the centre, said.

    The obvious flaw in Humphreys’s game is his lack of
    physicality. In defence, he is often relocated to the wing, out of
    harm’s way. There are few more muscular teams than Munster and it
    remains to be seen how his attacking game holds up when Leicester’s
    pack are on the back foot. “We’ll have to see how he copes with that,”
    Howard said. “But the back row and the No 12 [Gibson] will help him and
    if he gets a chance, I’m sure he’ll take it.”

    Then there is the legendary Thomond Park atmosphere, which
    adds a few inches to every Munster play

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  • Fly_ca&#115;ter

    <h1> Foley bars way as Leicester threaten stronghold </h1>
    @@@@SPAN>By Mick Cleary@@@@/SPAN>
    <div style="float: left;">@@@@SPAN>Last Updated: @@@@SPAN style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">12:53am GMT@@@@/SPAN>20/01/2007
    gets through Thomond Park without a fight and nobody gets past Anthony
    Foley without a rare old interrogation. Leicester have to demolish both
    men and myth this evening if they are to assure themselves of
    qualification for the Heineken Cup's knockout stages.</div>

    a march on Munster has never happened in 26 European ties. This
    evening's game is the last opportunity before the stadium makes way for
    a new 26,000-capacity venture. The bulldozers might need clearance from
    Foley, the captain when Munster finally got their hands on the Heineken
    Cup on that day of delirium in Cardiff last May and unofficial custodian of the Thomond Park heritage.

    tried taking a liberty years back when Foley's father, Brendan, was
    locking the Munster scrum. Six-year-old Anthony saw the player come
    into the Thomond Park dressing room. "You can't sit there," the
    youngster said calmly. "That's my father's place."

    Jnr will have his usual peg this evening, albeit that he is among the
    replacements. There may be no rallying cry to preserve the record at
    all costs, but let no one think that just because Munster have already
    qualified for the quarter-finals there will be any let-up. The Thomond
    factor would not allow that. The flame has to be kept alight.

    record won't be talked about because the focus will be on the job in
    hand," said Foley, who has seen the captaincy pass on to Paul
    O'Connell. "But you still need that fire, that willpower to pull you
    all together. There's a pride that comes from earning the right to wear
    the Munster jersey. There'll be a buzz there all right because there
    always is when you run out at Thomond. It's a special place. There's a
    real connection with the fans. You know where you come from when you're
    there and who you're representing."

    Nobody has done
    that in the Heineken Cup with the same regularity and consistency as
    Foley. He has played more games (7 more than any other player in the
    tournament's history. Until he dislocated his shoulder against
    Leicester in the opening pool game, he had missed only one Heineken Cup
    match in 10 years. The shoulder is fixed, Foley is back, a calming
    presence in any circumstances.

    Keith Wood, one-time team-mate and former Ireland hooker, rates Foley among the best.

    the most intelligent rugby player I've played alongside," said Wood,
    who played with a few in his time. "He's shrewd beyond belief, rarely
    makes mistakes and has the right word for the right occasion."

    33, is persuaded that the transformation of Thomond Park will be
    handled with insight and sensitivity. Above all, its essence will be
    preserved. The plan is to have terracing to house 11,000 fans.

    always has to be a place for the ordinary rugby follower," Foley said.
    "You'd go into Thomond when there's no match and wonder what all the
    fuss was about. The people are what makes it special. It's only when
    the passion is flowing through the ground that your dander is up.
    That's what makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

    remember when there was just an old wooden stand and a grass
    embankment. There were big changes after that and still Thomond
    retained its atmosphere. I'd say we'd be all right again."

    believes that it is the proximity of the supporters, metaphorical as
    well as literal, that lends Thomond Park its unique air.

    fans pat you on the back as you run out down the tunnel," Wood said.
    "And you'd know the names of most of them. There's a huge closeness
    there. Thomon

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  • Fly_ca&#115;ter
    @@@@SPAN id="rugby_story1">@@@@SPAN ="storyline">Curtain call for Thomond Park@@@@/SPAN>

    @@@@SPAN ="storydate">20/01/2007@@@@/SPAN>
    infamous rugby ground, Thomond Park, will be seen out in style today as
    defending champions Munster take on the Leicester Tigers ahead of the
    park's redevelopment.

    The match between Munster, who have an unbeaten home record in the
    Heineken Cup, and Leicester will be the last before construction begins.

    The €48m redevelopment plan for Thomond Park was given the green light
    this month after members of Limerick City Council voted in favour of
    rezoning property beside the ground.

    The plan will see houses on one side of the stadium rezoned to make
    space for the project which will double the capacity at the grounds to
    29,000. The park's East and West stands will be demolished and new
    facilities constructed in their place.
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    The teams have already faced each other earlier in the season, with
    Munster winning the Round 1 match 21-19 with a 79th-minute Ronan O'Gara
    penalty goal.

    Munster have already qualified for the final eight in the Heineken
    European Cup, but must beat Leicester to stay at the top of the pool.

    If Leicester can retain a bonus point they will remain in the last eight.

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  • Fly_ca&#115;ter

    <h2>Preview - Munster v Leicester</h2><div>Friday January 19 2007</div>Tigers keeping the faith

    Tigers head coach Pat Howard has kept faith with the same squad that
    beat Cardiff Blues last weekend as they prepares to face European
    champions Munster on Saturday in a winner takes all Pool Four Heineken
    Cup clash.
    @@@@SPAN name="intelliTxt" id="intelliTXT">The Tigers have made
    only one change from their 34-0 victory last weekend, with Julian White
    replacing Marcos Ayerza at tight-head prop.
    Ayerza drops to the replacements bench, where he is joined by
    the six other substitutes who played their part against the Blues at
    Welford Road.
    Geordan Murphy continues at full back, with Seru Rabeni and
    Alesana Tuilagi retainng their places on the wings. Ian Humphreys and
    Harry Ellis are again named at half-back, with Andy Goode unavailable
    due to injury.
    Humphreys, who has just signed a new contract with the club,
    faces a late fitness test. If he is ruled out, he will be replaced by
    Paul Burke.
    Meanwhile, Munster's line-up is unchanged, from 1-22, from
    the team that narrowly beat Bourgoin in Geneva last week, but Paul
    O'Connell warns that it will be a very different game against the

    "We don’t have things to change after the 30-27 win
    in Bourgoin but there are things we have to refine and tidy up," said
    "We looked at attacking space against Bourgoin – and the boys
    did that – so we just have to keep on doing what we’re doing and
    tighten it up a bit. There was a lot of good stuff in the Bourgoin
    match but at the same time it’s a long way off the type of rugby you
    need to beat Leicester.
    "Mistakes can happen when you have got a lot of hands
    involved and we will have to tidy up a lot - and I don’t think a high
    risk game will suit when we play Leicester.
    "Leicester are coming to our ground and have to win. That’s
    the way they will be looking at it and they are in a very similar
    situation to the one we were in over the last few years.
    "What is more, I think Leicester are like us. They have
    clever, experienced players who find that it helps their game a lot to
    be in an all-or-nothing situation rather than doing the maths
    throughout the match.
    "It puts you in a very unique situation where you have to go
    all out and play so it’s going to be very different to normal games.
    "And it is not a question of individual danger players when
    it comes to a team like Leicester as they are a very complete team.
    They’re a well coached, tidy, efficient, clinical team and I think
    those teams can be the most dangerous to play."
    <str&#111;ng nd="12">Form: Leicester have an impressive
    record in the Heineken Cup but face a must win game against reigning
    champions Munster this weekend. The come into the game in indifferent
    form, while they crushed Cardiff Blues last weekend they have struggled
    in the Premiership picking up two wins from their last four outings.
    Munster too have struggled on the domestic front this season but are
    unbeaten in the Heineken Cup for thirteen games now, a run they will be
    favourite to extend considering they are unbeaten in the Heineken Cup
    at Thomond Park.[/b]

    <str&#111;ng nd="14">The Teams:[/b]
    <str&#111;ng nd="15">Munster: 15 Shaun Payne, 14 John
    Kelly, 13 Barry Murphy, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Ronan
    O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Mick
    O'Driscoll, 5 Paul O'Connell (c), 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes,
    2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Marcus Horan.
    <str&#111;ng nd="17">Replacements:
    16 Jerry Flannery, 17 Fredericio Pucciariello, 18 James Coughlan, 19
    Anthony Foley, 20 Tomas O'Leary, 21 Jeremy Manning, 22 Christian Cullen.[/b][/b]

    Leave a comment:

  • Fly_ca&#115;ter
    <div ="mxb">
    <div ="sh">
    Munster v Leicester (Sat)

    <!- S BO ->
    <!- S IIMA ->

    <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="203">

    <div ="cap">Julian White has been recalled to the Leicester pack</div>

    <!- E IIMA ->
    Thomond Park
    Saturday, 20 January
    Kick-off: 1500 GMT
    Live local radio commentary on the BBC Sport website</font>

    <!- S SF ->
    Leicester have called up England prop Julian White
    for Saturday's crucial Heineken Cup clash against holders Munster at
    Thomond Park.


    White's inclusion in place of Marcos Ayerza in the only
    change from the win over Cardiff although Daryl Gibson and Ian
    Humphreys face late fitness tests.

    The Tigers need a victory at Munster's Limerick fortress to guarantee a place in the quarter-finals.

    Munster have named an unchanged team from last weekend's win over Bourgoin.
    <!- E SF -></font>

    <!- S IMED ->

    </font><div ="avinline">
    <a &#111;nclick="java&#115;cript launchAVC&#111;nsoleStory'6275035'; return false;" href=";news=1&amp ;nbwm=1&amp;nbram=1&amp;bbwm=1&amp;bbram=1" target="_blank">
    Interview: Leicester full-back Geordan Murphy

    <!- E IMED ->


    Mick O'Driscoll retains his place at the expense of
    Anthony Foley while Frank Sheahan again gets the hooker's spot ahead of
    Jerry Flannery.

    For Leicester, Ollie Smith will deputise for Gibson if
    the New Zealander is ruled out, with ex-Munster player Paul Burke on
    stand-by to replace fly-half Humphreys, who heads to Limerick after
    signing a new Leicester contract.

    The formidable barrier facing Leicester is Munster's imperious European record on Limerick soil - played 25, won 25.

    The Irish giants are also chasing a 14th successive
    tournament victory - their unbeaten run stretches back to November 2005
    when Sale beat them - while a ninth consecutive quarter-final
    appearance has already been booked.

    Tigers have beaten Cardiff Blues and Bourgoin home and
    away since a last-gasp Ronan O'Gara penalty edged Munster to an intense
    21-19 triumph at Welford Road in October.

    <!- S I ->
    <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="208">
    <td width="5"></td>
    <td ="sibStdQuote">

    <div ="mva">

    I cannot stress enough how much I want to get out there
    <br clear="all"> </div>


    <div ="mva">
    <div ="mva">Leicester captain Martin Corry</div>



    <!- E I ->


    Leicester captain Martin C

    Leave a comment:

  • Fly_ca&#115;ter

    @@@@SPAN> 20 January 2007 @@@@/SPAN>

    @@@@SPAN>Musgrave Park odds on for quarter-final @@@@/SPAN>

    @@@@SPAN>By Tony Leen @@@@/SPAN>

    PARK in Cork remains the short-odds favourite to host Munster’s
    Heineken Cup quarter-final, if they secure a home fixture. @@@@/SPAN>

    <no><ahref="http: //;ink25710671350170adid="1272991;BnId=1;itim e=288451791;key=key1+key2+key3+key4;nodecode=yes;& #108;ink=;sz=300x250;ord=288451791?&quot;" target="_blank" target="_blank"></ahref="http: target="_blank">
    <!- End of Tag ->
    have the Cork venue as short as 1/6 to be nominated by the Munster
    branch, despite its limited financial potential in terms of capacity.

    Park, which received planning permission this week for a massive
    redevelopment, can only hold 8,500 fans at present, but the missed
    financial opportunity is offset by the Munster players’ own preference
    to play the game in Cork at the end of March.
    Leinster’s defeat to Gloucester at Kingsholm last night dashed hopes of a “home” quarter-final for Michael Cheika’s side.

    Branch executives had hoped to play their quarter-final on the island
    of Ireland, with the 17,000-capacity Ravenhill the preferred option.

    The loss to Gloucester threw those hopes into disarray, and a tough away trip now beckons.

    full Heineken Cup quarter-final line-up will be known tomorrow evening,
    when Northampton entertain No 1 ranked Biarritz at Franklin Gardens.@@@@/SPAN>

    Leave a comment:

  • Fly_caster
    started a topic Some Press This Morning.......

    Some Press This Morning.......

    @@@@SPAN> 20 January 2007 @@@@/SPAN>

    @@@@SPAN>Munster summon one final roar@@@@/SPAN>

    @@@@SPAN>By Charlie Mulqueen@@@@/SPAN>

    coach Pat Howard is one of the few players to visit Thomond Park and
    depart on the winning side. It happened in 1996 when the Australian
    touring side hammered Munster by the unheard margin of 55-19.
    @@@@/SPAN><ahref="http: //;ink3.025710671350170adtech;loc="300;key=ke y1+key2+key3+key4;grp=1097&quot;target=&quot;_blan k&quot;" target="_blank" target="_blank"></ahref="http: target="_blank">@@@@SPAN>
    it was a great day for Australian rugby, it’s one that Munster people
    look back upon with discernible red faces and a deal of embarrassment.
    Howard had an armchair ride at out-half as he helped set-up a couple of
    tries for the great David Campese, and others to prosper at the end of
    his fluent service were stars of the game like Jason Little, Stephen
    Larkham and Ben Tune, not to mention Leinster’s Owen Finegan, all of
    whom crossed the Munster line. <div align="center"><no><no>
    <!- End of Tag ->

    Now Howard is keeping his fingers crossed that Ian
    Humphreys, his out-half in this evening’s Heineken Cup tie, will bring
    a similar influence to bear on this all-important Pool Four clash. He
    acknowledges the Ulster man is seriously short of experience at this
    level and is also troubled by a hamstring strain. Humphreys has a big
    left foot but the other is mainly for standing on, and he will be
    targeted from first whistle by the Munster back-row and anyone else in
    red who can get within reach. Howard, however, has been talking up his
    number 10 and also the prospects for his side reversing the outcome of
    the pre-Christmas meeting of the sides.

    “We’ve been thinking
    about this one every day since Ronan [O’Gara] beat us with an
    injury-time penalty goal in the rain from 51 metres,” he observed more
    than a little ruefully. “We know all about Munster’s record at Thomond
    Park and know just how tough it is going to be to become the first team
    to win there in the Heineken Cup but believe me — we are ready. There
    will be no lack of motivation.”

    It is probably an indication
    of how deep the Tigers squad goes that only six of today’s selected XV
    started in the first meeting of the sides. New Zealander Daryl Gibson
    (another facing a late fitness test) is the only survivor in the back
    division while hooker George Chuter, Martin Castlegiovanni, Leo Cullen,
    Lewis Moody and skipper Martin Corry have retained Howard’s faith. But
    there’s no place for England’s Ben Kay; he’s on the bench alongside the
    highly-rated Argentine prop Martin Ayerza, the versatile Sam Vesty and
    former Munster number nine Frank Murphy.

    By and large, the
    Munster team is on the same lines as at Welford Road, with the glaring
    exception of Trevor Halstead, whose strength, experience and
    off-loading at first centre were missed in Geneva last Sunday. That is
    very likely to be the case again today, no matter how well Lifeimi Mafi
    has taken his try-scoring chances in each of his last two matches.

    always in these huge European confrontations, there are countless
    imponderables, and chief among them is how the Tigers cope with the
    special and awesome atmosphere at Thomond Park on big-match day. Many
    have come thinking they knew what lay in wait and left wondering just
    what had hit them. Gloucester and Sale are just two who will testify to

    There is a difference, however slight, on this occasion
    given that it is the visitors who have to win, with Munster in pole
    position. Pat Howard speaks of the motivation driving his men on but
    Munster won’t be short in this regard either, with skipper Paul
    O’Connell stressing: “None of us want to be on the side that lost a
    European Cup match at Thomond