Toulon v Munster: James Downey does not fear Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon

Wilkinson is looking to reach a second straight European final but Downey and Munster stand in their way

James Downey believes Munster’s proud Heineken Cup history can be an important factor behind their bid to reach a fifth European final today, writes Andrew Baldock.

Munster head to the Stade Vélodrome, where an appointment with Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon, the holders of the cup, awaits.

“The tradition and history is there, and it’s what Munster is renowned for,” Downey said.

Munster won the tournament in 2006 and 2008, while they were also runners-up on two occasions, but the centre added: “You want to create your own legacy as well.

“It is a young team coming through and they want to make their own stamp now. They’d like to have their own bit of history.

“It is the hype you get that you wouldn’t normally get in the Pro12. The Heineken Cup is the Champions League [of rugby] and you want to be playing there.”

Munster bowed out in the semi-finals last season against Clermont Auvergne, and the 33‑year-old said: “We’re more experienced and more prepared than we were last year. We will be doing all we can to get to Cardiff [on 24 May].”

The second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup also continues today with Wasps and Bath meeting at Adams Park. The winners will face Northampton Saints in the 23 May final.

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