The United Rugby Championship (URC) regular season will have its final round of games this weekend when Munster and Leinster go head-to-head to determine the final seedings for the playoffs.
The Southern province will once again be in the Aviva as they take on the top seeds on Saturday evening.
Munster are looking to give themselves the opportunity to earn silverware this season, where a bonus point win against Leinster guarantees second seeding and a home semi-final.
Last time out Munster had a heart stopping contest against last year’s European and French league champions Toulouse. It was game where both teams left everything on the table in the pursuit of the victory for their side.
After 100 minutes of play, the game was decided by a rare penalty shootout with each team having three place kickers. Toulouse would go onto make 100% of their kicks and progress on to the semi-final of the European competition.
Despite the loss Johann van Graan was proud of his side and the fans performance.
“It was a phenomenal day in terms of 40 000 monster people going down to the Aviva, obviously it’s a different competition and a different feel. What we’re looking for is a performance on Saturday to be good enough to get a win to guarantee us a home quarter-final. That’s the way we look at it from this weekend’s point of view and we’re playing against the club that have just qualified for the final of Europe.
“They are already guaranteed a home quarter final, a potential home semi final and a home final. So under no illusion as to what we need to do on Saturday evening and that’s going to put in a performance. “
With it being the first playoffs the URC have held, there has been great excitement around the final weekend of games. What is even more exciting is all the games matter due to the the fact the order of the top out has not been set in stone a big changes could be made on the last day.
From second to fourth, each team is level on 56 points and each team have eleven wins apiece with van Graan highlighting the structure of the new competition.
“It’s brilliant for the URC, the fact that every game’s got an effect on the other games. The top eight has been confirmed but who finishes where between two and six is to be determined obviously. The two welsh sides will have a massive impact on it in one of them will qualify for Europe, so you know that’ll be two big games.
“We can only enjoy the weekend, do our preparation watch it all unfold on Friday evening and then travel to Dublin and then we’ve got to perform ourselves on Saturday evening”
With this effectively being the biggest game of the year for Munster and van Graan there will be no need to rest players with next weeks empty schedule.
With players like Gavin Coombes coming back the red men will look to put out their strongest side possible as the coach outlined.
“I think we’ve got to focus only on this game we’ve got a week off next week so we’re going to put out our best available side. We’ve got to go to Dublin and play against the the current champions in in the URC we’ll obviously want to play Thomand park for in a in a quarter final.
“We’ve got to go and make sure that we perform and hopefully get the points to to put us in that position you know in terms of the other teams. If you don’t get the points you might have to go to Belfast you might have to go to to Cape town or Durban or Pretoria, we would much rather like to stay in limerick so what a what a good weekend for the URC to look forward to. “
Watch the full interview with van Graan below