British & Irish Lion Paul O’Connell admits Munster’s European success in Toulouse was the perfect way to end a trying week after coming up short against Irish rivals Leinster.
Lions teammate and Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll had led Leinster past Munster at the Aviva Stadium with a typically talismanic performance in the Celtic League last weekend.
However, O’Connell put in a fierce display of his own on Saturday – including a rare try – as his side reached the European Cup semi-final with a crushing 47-23 victory over Toulouse at Thomond Park.
Munster could meet O’Driscoll’s troops in the final four should they prevail at Toulon, but O’Connell is expecting his team to have a colossal fight on their hands whoever they face.
“It was one of those days where everything came off for us, everything went well for us,” said O’Connell.
“We got off to a really good start with a few lineout steals for a very good try, and after the disappointment after last week it gave us a bit of a lift.
“It put a bit of confidence back into us and we were disciplined then for the rest of the game.
“It would be great to play Leinster, it will be very tough and I’m sure they were happy sitting on their couches knowing they have us and not Toulouse now.
“It’s incredibly hard for them to go down there against Toulon and whoever we get in the semis is going to be incredibly hard as well.
“But we weren’t looking beyond this match. We thought it was going to be a big mountain to climb and to perform like we did is brilliant.”