Munster don’t expect a side coached by Richard Cockerill to be intimidated by their Thomond Park fortress and are braced for a severe test against Edinburgh tomorrow afternoon.
Cockerill was assistant coach at Leicester in 2007 when they ended Munster’s incredible 12-season unbeaten home European record at the famous Limerick arena and was in the top job when the Tigers were successful there three years ago.
Munster coach Johann van Graan said: “They’ve got a quality coach, I think he’s one of the best coaches in the world. They’ve got a lot of belief and they’ve got a very simple plan, so I think they’ll come here with nothing to lose.
“They’ve come from my perception, I won’t say from nowhere, but nobody has seen them coming and a lot of guys still don’t see them but they are a red-hot team, playing some fantastic rugby.”
Munster prop Stephen Archer added: “Edinburgh and Cockerill will be coming over knowing what Thomond Park’s like. He’s come over with Leicester teams in the past and turned us over here before once or twice, so he’ll be trying to motivate Edinburgh and they won’t be coming over with a fear factor.”
In tomorrow’s Guinness Pro14 quarter-final, the outgoing Simon Zebo, Robin Copeland and Gerbrandt Grobler will play their final games at Thomond Park, with a semi-final at Leinster for a place in the Aviva Stadium final up for grabs.
Ireland No 8 CJ Stander is set to return to the side after missing last weekend’s 24-24 draw with Ulster and he said: “They are a team that work hard for each other. Cockerill is a guy that coached European Cup teams, he coached Leicester and we played against them. He knows what he is doing, he hasn’t surprised me at all.”
For a second week running Edinburgh will be refereed by Nigel Owens as the Welshman takes charge again after doing the same in last weekend’s 1872 Cup decider.