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Munster say more than 21,000 tickets have been sold for massive derby with Leinster

Thomond Park hosts the inter-provincial derby on 27 December.

MUNSTER SAY MORE than 21,000 tickets have been sold for the inter-provincial derby against Leinster in Thomond Park on 27 December.

CJ Stander leads his team before the game Munster will hope to see Thomond Park packed for a key Pro12 game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Formerly a bitterly intense rivalry, the meetings between the two provinces have faded somewhat in recent seasons, but this year’s festive fixture appears to have grabbed the attention of Irish rugby fans.

While the initial expectation was that some Ireland internationals would be pulled from this encounter under the IRFU’s player management programme, Leinster yesterday indicated that they had received no such notification from the union.

The prospect of Leinster and Munster being close to full strength for this Guinness Pro12 meeting is certainly an exciting one, particularly with both teams so desperate to return to winning ways.

Munster are on a four-game losing streak, while Leinster have crashed out of the Champions Cup with four consecutive defeats in their pool. There has been much pessimism around both provinces, particularly in contrast to the atmosphere surrounding Connacht and Ulster, so Sunday’s clash in Limerick is important for both.

Munster have lost their most recent two games in Thomond Park and after back-to-back defeats to the Leinster Tigers in Europe, are intent on bouncing back on 27 December.

The prospect of more than 20,000 fans turning out at the famous Limerick stadium is an encouraging one for Irish rugby, with tickets still available from €20 for the North Terrace at the time of writing.

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Ian Keatley returns the jersey to CJ Stander after scoring CJ Stander lost his jersey in the act of scoring last December. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“As a team we are obviously disappointed by the results over the last few weeks, but I think there were a lot of improvements last weekend (against Leicester) and that will give us some confidence,” said Munster captain CJ Stander.

“We know we have to be better, and we will be doing everything we can to make the right adjustments ahead of this game against Leinster. Being more clinical in the right areas of the pitch is something we have to focus on, and making sure that we finish off good work with scores.

“Leinster are a great side, who, like ourselves, haven’t perhaps been getting the results they want over the last few weeks. If anything, this makes for an exciting prospect as both sides want to get back to winning ways.

“We are both in the top four of the league and a win would certainly help to push towards the top of the table as we head into the start of 2016. I have played against Leinster four times and they have been really tough matches, and I would expect nothing less for this game.”

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