MUNSTER renew a deep rugby rivalry with Leicester Tigers on Saturday hoping that a full Thomond Park will make the Premiership team feel its mighty roar.
21,000 tickets have been sold as of this Thursday for the critical European Champions Cup clash with Munster expecting “a big crowd with tickets on sale on the day also”.
Kick off in the mouth watering meeting of the two sides is at 7.45pm in Thomond Park on Saturday night, and with the game only being shown on BT Sports, a near to capacity crowd is expected in the stadium.
Leicester have taken 800 tickets for the game, which is a must-win for Munster, even at this early stage in the season.
Rain is forecast for Saturday evening, with temperatures expected to drop to around four degrees.
Munster and Leicester have two wins apiece in European competition against each other, with neither side having won on home soil. Leicester inflicted Munster’s first loss in Thomond Park in 2007, winning 6-13 in front of 13,200 fans and ending a 26-game unbeaten run in the competition to that point.
Thomond’s European pedigree will also be marked at the fixture, when the stadium welcomes its one millionth European Cup supporter through the turnstiles.
The lucky punter will win a host of prizes, including a five year golden ticket for all of Munster’s home games, while also being upgraded for the Leicester match and presented to the crowd at half time during the match.
Former Munster player John Kelly, who played in all four previous games against Leicester, said this week that “home support counts for a huge amount” when facing such tough opposition.
“For me as a player there was no better feeling than running down the slope at the old Thomond Park as it was then. By running down the old slope you were almost launched out onto the pitch and a stadium full of manic roars,” he said in an interview published on the Munster Rugby website.
“The really big days where you are facing English opposition and possibly with your backs against the wall, and then to hear that noise, that’s when it really had an impact. It’s great for our players and if Munster start well and give the crowd something to cheer about early on, that support just gets bigger and bigger and then supporters start getting on the backs of the away players and that undoubtedly has an impact,” he added.