Stuart Barnes and Rory Lawson discuss the rise of Munster

Last Updated: 10/01/14 2:37pm

Munster's last minute 18-17 win over Perpignan in round four puts the two-time Heineken Cup champions in control of Pool 6.

A bonus point win over Gloucester on Saturday will mean the Irish province qualify for the quarter-finals for the 15th time in 16 seasons.

Despite being at the top of their pool and the RaboDirect PRO12 table, Munster have come in for criticism for their form in the Heineken Cup.

"When they find their form they are going to be formidable."

Stuart Barnes on Munster

And while some say the weight of those two Heineken Cup wins hangs heavy on this young side, Stuart Barnes has been impressed with what they have done.

"A lot of people are saying that Munster are not playing very well this season," said Barnes told The Rugby Club.

"I will flip it around and say that I am hugely impressed that they are top of Pool 6 and are not playing particularly well.

"You have to remember that we issued the same criticism last season and in the end they were one bounce of the ball away from beating Clermont in Montpellier in the semi-final.


"This team is now one year older and one year better.

"At the moment they are doing brilliantly in the Rabo, where they are top, and when they find their form then they are going to be formidable."

Former Scotland and Newcastle scrum-half Rory Lawson has been impressed with the way young skipper Peter O'Mahony has led Munster.

"He is everything Munster, isn't he?" said Lawson.

"He has taken everything on and is your typical Irish No.6.

"He can carry the ball well and is the sort of guy you would love having in your team, and would hate playing against.

"In the most positive way, he is just an irritant. He is just there all day long with and without the ball doing all the nasty things really well."