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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Munster v Biarritz (Sat)
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 20 May
Kick-off: 1500 BST

Injury doubts Paul O'Connell, Marcus Horan and John Kelly are all expected to be named in the Munster side for the Heineken Cup final against Biarritz.

O'Connell picked up an ankle injury in a Celtic League game against Ospreys 11 days ago, while Kelly sustained a shoulder injury in the same game.

Horan missed the semi-final win over Leinster because of a calf injury.

Biarritz captain Thomas Lievremont, who missed their semi-final win over Bath, returns at number eight after injury.

Both sides are scheduled to confirm their starting line-ups on Friday, but an ankle injury has ruled out former All Blacks full-back Christian Cullen from playing any part on Saturday.

Federico Pucciariello, who played against Leinster, is on stand-by if Horan fails to recover, while former British Lion Rob Henderson could come in if Kelly is unfit.

The fear of waking up after the final with another silver medal is a big driving force
Munster captain Anthony Foley
French champions Biarritz have reported no injury concerns as they prepare for their first Heineken final, having lost in the semis for the past two years.

Munster captain Anthony Foley believes the pain of two previous Heineken Cup final defeats - in 2000 and 2002 - will inspire his men to glory.

The veteran number eight has played in all but one of Munster's 76 Heineken Cup matches over the last 11 years, including the final losses to Northampton and Leicester.

"It's no fun waking up the next day after you've lost a final," he said. "We've experienced that and it's a big motivating factor for us this time around.

"The disappointments we've felt in the past will spur us on against Biarritz.

"We've often talked about how the fear of losing has driven us on at Thomond Park.

"The fear of waking up after a European Cup final with another silver medal is a big driving force for this side."

Our goal has never been to reach the final, it is to lift the trophy
Biarritz captain Thomas Lievremont
Munster know what to expect having lost 19-10 to Biarritz - "a bloody-minded side and a major obstacle" according to Foley - in San Sebastian in the quarter-finals last year.

The Basques have plenty of firepower in their backline but have adopted a conservative approach in their victories over Sale and Bath in the knock-out stages, a strategy unlikely to change on Saturday.

"We beat them last season but we know Munster are a really strong team," said Biarritz captain Thomas Lievremont, the France number eight.

"They were very impressive in the semi-finals against Leinster and we know we are going to face a wall; it is a really frightening team.

"They are enormously strong up front, have a strong defence and half-backs who know their rugby inside out.

"But our goal has never been just to reach the final. It has always been to lift the trophy."


Munster (from): S Payne, I Dowling, A Horgan, T Halstead, J Kelly, M Lawlor, R Henderson, T O'Leary, J Manning, R O'Gara, P Stringer, E McGovern, F Pucciariello, M Horan, J Hayes, D Fogarty, J Flannery, T Hogan, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, M O'Driscoll, D Leamy, A Quinlan, D Wallace, S Keogh, A Foley.

Biarritz (likely): Brusque, Gobelet, Bidabe, Traille, Bobo, Peyrelongue, Yachvili, Balan, August, Johnson, Thion, Couzinet, Betsen, Harinordoquy, Lievremont.


SEE ALSO
Munster's mission
18 May 06 |  European Club
Munster desperate for final glory
17 May 06 |  European Club
August cleared after ERC bungling
05 May 06 |  European Club
Destiny not a factor - O'Connell
24 Apr 06 |  European Club
O'Connell expecting great final
23 Apr 06 |  European Club


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