Leinster have four cup finals left this season according to flanker Rhys Ruddock, as they try to make the Guinness Pro12 play-offs starting with Saturday’s Aviva Stadium interpro against Munster.
The side currently sit second in the table ahead of their clash with their provincial rivals but after last week’s loss to league leaders Connacht they can feel the chasing pack breathing down their neck.
Munster edged their way into the top four with a win last time out and Ruddock believes their rivals will be full of confidence for this weekend’s clash.
“They seem to be playing good rugby the last number of weeks,” Ruddock said of Munster’s recent form.
“They’ll be confident coming to play us in our own backyard. These games are the biggest games of all for both teams.
“There are four games in the regular season left and then, depending on how results go, the play-off games.
“I think every game is a must-win going into the end of the season, so we’re certainly approaching it as a must-win.”
Leinster have brought back a host of internationals including Jonathan Sexton, Devin Toner and Jack McGrath, making nine changes in all from the team that lost to Connacht.
For their part, Munster have made five changes from the team that hammered Zebre 47-0 last time out including a start for skipper CJ Stander and returns to the starting lineup for Conor Murray and Francis Saili.
Munster coach Anthony Foley is expecting a ferocious affair at the Aviva Stadium with both sides already out of European competition this season.
With only the Pro12 left to play for and the league standings looking tighter and tighter by the week this is a huge game for both clubs and Foley knows that both sides will be giving it their all to claim the win.
“It’s a massive inter-pro, it always has been. A lot of fellas that spent a lot of time together over the last two months will be coming up against each other with different jerseys on,” said Foley.
“There is a lot of side-shows that will go on, but I think the most important thing is there will be two very good teams going after a win, making sure that they win. So it will lead to a very competitive game I’d imagine.
“Everyone is still vying for position and trying to make sure they secure Europe first and foremost. I think a lot of teams have that in the front of their minds. It’s not something that is that far away.
“And then you want to get top four, then most teams will want to get one of the home semis because traditionally nobody loses them. And that’s what I imagine most coaches are going through. It’s important that we go up to the Aviva and make sure we show our wares above in our own national stadium.”