THERE MAY BE months to go until Toulouse meet Munster in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, but Toulouse coach Guy Novès is already looking to take the pressure off his side.
Asked for his reaction to being drawn away to the Rob Penney-coached Irish province, the 59-year-old said that a win for his men would be seen as an upset. The odds certainly are likely to be in Munster’s favour barring a spate of injuries, although Toulouse are four-time champions in the competition.
These sides have met four time in the Heineken Cup, with two wins apiece so far. Their most recent meeting was the 2008 final in Cardiff, when Munster emerged with a 16-13 win. That encounter remains a difficult memory for Novès.
Munster are record holders for participating in the quarter finals and that counts,” he told Rugbyrama. “It’s a nice challenge. I couldn’t care less if we’re favourites or not. It doesn’t have any bearing on the result. If we win it’s an exploit and if we lose it would be normal.
“We will just try to be worthy of the Stade Toulousain name. It’s especially disappointing for our supporters and sponsors that we have to travel. We wanted to please them. They have deserved for many years to have a home quarter final.
“This season we didn’t expect to win in Saracens and we did. We don’t expect to win in Munster either. The last time we met them it was the final and that game is still stuck in my throat.”
Meanwhile, fullback Clément Poitrenaud says he is hoping the encounter doesn’t descend into the realms of a bad dream. The 44-times capped France international is at least looking forward to the occasion in Limerick.
“It will be an exceptional event. Playing there against such an opponent and in such an atmosphere is mythical in any career. I hope it won’t become a nightmare. We know we’re not the favourites but that was the case at the start of this competition.
“With our resources, we will try to hang on to the best [teams].”