MUNSTER TALISMAN Paul O’Connell will be able to relax tomorrow in front of the TV as some of his Six Nations-winning teammates take to the field in France.
Munster booked their spot in the Heineken Cup semi-finals this afternoon with a hugely impressive 47-23 win over Toulouse at Thomond Park.
Tomorrow, Leinster will take on Toulon for the right to face Rob Penney’s side in the last-four.
“It’d be great to play Leinster, it’d be very tough,” said O’Connell afterwards. “I’m sure [Leinster are] very happy sitting on their couch knowing that they have us and not Toulouse.
“It’s incredibly hard for them to go down to Toulon and whoever we get in the semi is going to be incredibly hard as well. But we’re just delighted today, we weren’t looking beyond today. To get that win today is is just incredible for us. We thought it was going to be a big mountain to climb and to perform like we did is brilliant.”
He added: “It was disappointing to concede those two tries but I think against a team like Toulouse, sometimes it’s inevitable. It was a brilliant performance by everyone — by the bench. Obviously we lost Peter [O'Mahony] early on and that was massive, so yeah, a really great day after a disappointing week last week.”
Munster skipper O’Mahony hobbled off with an injury in the first half but CJ Stander came on to deputise and ultimately finished his afternoon with the man-of-the-match award.
“He’s everything you want when you sign a foreign player,” O’Connell told Sky Sports. “He’s stuck in the middle of all the jokes, he’s just an incredible guy. He’s had a lot of frustration with selection during the year but he still bounces into training and he’s the life and soul of the party and we’re very lucky to have him.
“To lose a player of Peter’s ability and for him to come on and then be man of the match is incredible.”
A memorable day for Munster fans in Limerick was topped off when O’Connell himself crashed over the whitewash for a relatively rare try.
“I scored against Connacht last season but not for a long time in the Heineken Cup,” he admitted. “It was just a tap-in really but it felt great.”