Bru: An immense challenge
Toulouse coach Yannick Bru admits "an immense challenge" awaits his side at the Millennium Stadium.
Last Updated: 23/05/08 8:28am
Toulouse coach Yannick Bru admits "an immense challenge" awaits his side at the Millennium Stadium after struggling to find a weakness in the Munster line-up.
Despite having won the Heineken Cup on three previous occasions and boasting a squad packed full of internationals, Toulouse go into the game as slight underdogs.
And former France hooker Bru has no doubt of the size of the task facing his side - especially as they will be without Les Bleus internationals Vincent Clerc and Clement Poitrenaud.
"We have a lot of respect for them," said Bru.
"They are a team with a lot of quality in all set-piece phases with the ball, and have a presence in the line-out, the scrum and in the rucks.
"They are opportunistic from lost balls, possess great experience and apply constant pressure on their opponents.
"They now have speed out wide this year. They have signed two centres of great talent (Rua Tipoki and Lifeimi Mafi) and there is Doug Howlett on the wing who remains a permanent danger.
"They got out of a high-quality group, and went and won at Gloucester and Saracens. So hats off to them for the run they have had.
"An immense challenge awaits us."
Injuries have hampered the hopes of Toulouse, with New Zealand scrum-half Byron Kelleher also a doubt, while Tonga No.8 Finau Maka has not travelled for personal reasons.
And Bru believes that Munster reap the benefits of being able to rest a number of players from Magners League action.
"In the Celtic League, Munster play very few of their first-choice team - they give a lot of recovery time to their players," he said.
"They work like their national team, and prepare for the Heineken Cup like the Ireland team prepare for their international matches.
"We feel they are helped a little more by their domestic calendar.
"That (the calendar) is the biggest bugbear of all the French teams who are involved in the final rounds of both competitions.
"In a post-World Cup season, it is a real marathon to try to battle on two fronts.
"Since our quarter-final win over Cardiff, you must take into account the run of matches we have had and the injuries to have befallen us.
"It has been difficult."