Dan Sheridan/INPHO Eoin Reddan and Ryan Tubridy launch the 4th of July Classic in aid of the Irish Youth Foundation.

'You do feel that bit of an edge' - Eoin Reddan on the prospect of facing Munster

The Leinster player doesn’t believe the game needs any extra hype after Rob Penney’s comments.

AFTER MUNSTER COACH Rob Penney described Saturday’s RaboDirect Pro 12 game between Munster and Leinster as “Munster versus the Six Nations champions”, Leinster scrum-half Eoin Reddan was keen to play down the significance of the game, while still admitting that provincial derbies are always special.

“From a player point of view, it’s a huge game. I don’t know of anything outside that can add to the occasion. You know these lads inside out, you know it’s a real marker for where you are at as a player and as a team.

“A lot of the frills that happen every year, they do generate interest but still at the very bones of it, it is a Munster and Leinster game. To be honest, if there was no frills it would be enough every year and I don’t think this year is any different.

“You have a few lads on our team who left Munster a few years ago and didn’t quite make it at Munster and that adds to us for every year, like myself, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross. There is that to it too.

“This week you do feel that bit of an edge, but at the end of the day it is a Rabo game that either team can recover from if they win or lose which isn’t the same the following week. That context has to be kept for both camps, whatever the result is at the weekend.”

Reddan also says that he doesn’t feel any added pressure since Penney’s comments. Indeed, any pressure comes from within the Leinster squad, not outside it.

“From a Leinster point of view, I know where the pressure is coming from me and that is the other scrum-halves in the squad. There is a huge pressure there. I don’t know if anyone could fill that or overcome that level of pressure. There would be a lot of cases for that in Leinster when there is very very tight spots up for grabs and everyone wants to be playing this time of the season.

“Those external things might be more tangible for people to grab hold of externally but internally we put pressure on each other and the want to be playing on the field every week is higher than all that.”

The 33-year old believes he’s returned to full fitness following a Six Nations campaign that didn’t go exactly to plan.

“It’s worked out pretty well in terms of playing time. I got injured before the 6 Nations, so I missed the first two games. I ended up playing three provincial games in a row during the 6 Nations which put me in a good spot to be involved against Italy and France at the end.

“Overall I am now at a position where I’m fresh and I have had some rugby, so I don’t have any excuses going forward now.”

Despite being involved in Paris as Ireland won the Six Nations championship, the 53-times capped scrum-half doesn’t believe it’s possible to take the momentum from that game into the rest of the season, starting with Toulon in the Heineken Cup.

“I can only speak from my own feeling about the game and it’s a totally separate game, it’s in a stadium none of us have played in before. I suppose like guys like Brian would’ve finished without playing there. I would have seen games played there and being envious of teams going out to that atmosphere and not getting to experience that.

“On one hand you think it is great you are going to play there and then you realise who you are playing against, what stage of the competition it is at, quarter-final of the Heineken Cup is not ideal to be away to Toulon.

“It is going to be a very very tough game, but at the same time it represents a massive opportunity. It is separate to the 6 Nations and I wouldn’t say we would be very confident going down there. We will work with the coaches. I’m sure they will have a great plan for us next week and maybe Wednesday or Thursday we might be confident about what we are going to do. We might know one or two of their weaknesses that they will be picking out to us this week.

And who do Leinster fear the most?

“At that stage we will know a bit more where we are at but I think the performance of Mathieu Bastareau at the end of the Six Nations was certainly an alarm bell. He did very well against what we would all consider a very good centre partnership in Ireland. He will have to be someone we will look at but they have threats right across the pitch so that is going to be a tough game.”

Eoin Reddan was speaking at the launch of the Irish Youth Foundation’s charity golf event in The K-Club on July 4th.

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