Munster looking for 'best game ever'
Munster boss Rob Penney said his side will have to produce their best performance ever if they are to topple European Cup holders Toulon.
Munster boss Rob Penney said his side will have to produce their best performance under his leadership if they are to topple European Cup holders Toulon this coming weekend.
The Irish giants travel to Marseilles for a mouth-watering semifinal on Sunday, as they go in search of a third European Cup crown and a first in six seasons.
Penney saw his side trounce Toulouse in the quarterfinals a fortnight ago, but the New Zealander insists they will have to be even better if they are to succeed against the star-studded champions at the Stade Veledrome.
"We're going to have to play the best game we've ever played," said Penney, who took the helms at Thomond Park in 2012, but will be leaving his role at the end of the current campaign.
"Some individuals are going to have to go beyond where they have been before.
"That is the challenge for us as a management group: to try and get the group in a frame of mind that they are prepared to do that.
"This is an exciting part of your life, they don't get any better than this. Going to Clermont last year was really exciting but playing Toulon is a bit special for me as a coach.
"There is a little bit of history between Toulon and Munster in this competition, so we'll be trying to uncover every little avenue we can to try and tap into those motivational and inspirational moments to see if we can pull out a magical performance."
Munster came close to a magic show at the Stade de la Mosson this time last year when they took Clermont to the wire before being beaten 16-10 in Montpellier. Few critics gave Munster a prayer in the lead up to last year's semifinal but they saved their best for the big stage and were within a single score of yet another shock on French soil.
Penney knows that an even greater challenge awaits in six days' time but he is hopeful that the experience of last season will give his side an added belief in their chances of causing an upset this time around.
"After Clermont last year there was a realisation that this group can compete at this level. I don't think they thought that before that game," added Penney.
"At half-time [in the 2013 semifinal], we talked about how we needed to believe in ourselves. As the game went on, we were able to become more threatening.
"I think they went away from that game with a lot more belief than they had before and that has flowed into this year's European competition. Let's hope it continues this week and we can go into a very, very daunting task with a bit of belief and confidence."