Stuart Barnes: 'Munster are quarter-final bankers' 

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Stuart Barnes: 'Munster are quarter-final bankers' 

Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne limbering up at a squad training session at UL this week

SKY Sports rugby pundit and former England international Stuart Barnes says Munster are 'bankers' to beat Toulouse in Saturday's glamour European Champions Cup fixture at Thomond Park, 5.45pm.

Munster have won seven of their eight home quarter-finals in the European Cup, including a 47-23 thumping of Toulouse in 2014.

Barnes is in no doubt but that Munster will make it 32 wins from their last 35 fixtures in the European Cup.

Barnes said: “One thing is for certain. When I step off the plane on Friday afternoon in Limerick, every Munster fan I talk to will be eager to tell me how worried they are about the threat of Toulouse.

“Munster could be playing the worst team in the world and they'd be claiming a severe bout of nerves. I'm not buying it.

“Toulouse are a teetering giant, Munster re-emerging as a European force. With their captain and definite late Lions bolter, Peter O'Mahony to inspire them, a packed house that will have shrugged off its nerves in the hours leading up to kick off, this is the banker of the four quarter-finals.

“Munster versus Saracens is a likely looking semi-final.”

Munster are long odds-on favourites at 1/5 with bookmakers to reach the semi-finals of Europe's premier club rugby competition, with Toulouse available at 7/2. Saturday's game will be televised live on Sky Sports 2.

Munster continue to sweat on the fitness of Irish scrum-half Conor Murray who is struggling to be fit for Saturday's quarter-final due to a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Munster captain Peter O'Mahony believes Toulouse won't have any fears about coming to Thomond Park for the last eight clash.

O'Mahony said: “I suppose, on paper, history-wise, there’s a huge amount of success between the two clubs.

“Two very proud clubs coming together and it’s always a great occasion. It’s always physical and it’s always almost violent, and I don’t think we’re going to expect anything else on Saturday.

“I don’t think they’re coming over here having anything to fear. It’s always a scalp to beat Munster in a quarter-final. I know it’s only been done once but any team that comes over here in Europe they’ll be licking their lips and especially with their experience and quality.”