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Howard respects Munster challenge

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Tigers head coach Pat Howard insists his side will be fully focused ahead of this weekend's Heineken Cup clash with Munster at Welford Road. Tigers face the European champions in the opening match of this year's competition, with Howard's side aware of the threat posed by the Irish province.

"They're very good technically," says Howard. "You don't win the Heineken Cup, or remain so consistent in it over a number of years, without having that about you. We're all expecting a tough battle, but more importantly, the whole squad is looking forward to it. They've got a very good lineout, but so have we. They've also got a fantastic core belief - something which also seems familiar!"

Tigers have already played their Irish counterparts once this year, having travelled to Cork for a pre-season fixture in mid-August. Tigers won that day, against a Munster with a number of players missing, and Howard recognises the fact that the result will mean little when it comes to Sunday's eagerly anticipated match-up.

"To win in Munster was obviously a good thing, but we appreciate that there were a lot of guys missing on their part, especially in the forwards. We had a good workout in the backs, but that game will have no bearing whatsoever on what happens this weekend."