Munster lock Paul O'Connell believes his side are firm underdogs to beat Clermont in their Heineken Cup semi-final later this month.
Munster lock Paul O'Connell believes his side are firm underdogs to beat Clermont in their Heineken Cup semi-final in Montpellier later this month.
O'Connell skippered the 2006 and 2008 champions to a memorable 18-12 victory over Harlequins at the Stoop on Sunday but knows that they will have to be at their best if they want to reach the final.
“It's going to be very tough going forward and I'm sure Clermont will be delighted they got us and not Harlequins,” O'Connell told the ERC website.
“It's going to be very tough for us to beat Clermont. They have power across the park and just look at their bench – any team in Europe would like to have their bench in their 1st XV.
“These young guys at Munster can give anyone a game, but it is going to be very tough.”
The former Ireland and British and Irish Lions captain has been sidelined with knee and back injuries for most of the season – playing only seven matches in 11 months – but he was back to his best against Harlequins and won the official man-of-the-match award.
That performance has led to calls for him to be selected for the Lions squad for their upcoming series against the Wallabies.
“I feel very much back in the mix after a game like that,” said O'Connell. “There was a lot of doubt after last week – we felt we threw a bit of a dummy against Glasgow, which wasn't our intention, and we were a bit down in the week.”
“To be back involved with it is great. I've a little bit to go with my match fitness, but I'm delighted to be back playing and to have come through another match injury free.”