Conor Buckley spoke to Irish legend Keith Wood about this weekend’s clash between Munster and Leinster.
Conor Buckley: Looking forward to the big game between Munster and Leinster this weekend Keith?
Keith Wood: It’s obviously a huge game for Munster considering they have lost the last 5 in a row, Munster are really proud, they haven’t lost at home this season, I don’t think they’ll want to let that happen. It all depends exactly how they have got over the 6-Nations. It’s a really big game for Leinster, and a huge game the following week against Leicester, so it’s an awful lot of pressure on them to perform. Leinster are probably favorites but it’s very hard to call!
CB: In the Magners league there is the exciting prospect of three Irish teams making it into the knockout stages. In your opinion does this indicate that Irish rugby is stronger than ever?
KW: You know I think the four provinces have concentrated on on the Magners League to ensure they have a level of contingency for the whole year – they haven’t just targeted the Heineken Cup, they have gone after both, and I think that’s a sign of maturity. Previously they would have only focused on the Heineken Cup now they have the strength and depth in the squads to cover both. Delighted for Ulster, they have had a hard time in the last two years, haven’t really achieved what they would have liked to have, and to be in a quarter-final of the Heineken Cup along with being in the top 3 of the Magners League at the moment is a great achievement.
CB: There has been some bad news for fellow hooker and Munster player Jerry Flannery after it was announced he will not play for the rest of this season, and is to undergo further surgery on his injured calf.
KW: Yeah it’s a shocker. I know what it’s like, I had years when you kept trying to come back from different injuries and nothing was really happening. The killer for Jerry is that nobody seems to know what the hell is wrong, hopefully this exploratory surgery figures out exactly what it is and he gets back to play, in many ways it’s the last roll of the dice to get back for the World Cup and I’d just like to wish him well.
CB: OK Keith, I’m gonna put you on the spot, whats your prediction for this weekend, Munster v Leinster?
KW: You can put me on the spot but I’m going to sit on the fence! I don’t know, the games immediately after the 6-Nations are the hardest games to call… Sure we’ll go for a Munster win, it’s time for them to break their duck.
Keith Wood was speaking at the launch of Bushmills Brothers in Belfast yesterday were an 18 square foot piece of street art was revealed on Great Victoria Street depicting Keith with his good friend current Ireland International rugby player Rory Best. The Bushmills Brothers campaign draws upon the spirit of friendship and celebrates the experiences and stories that men share. The fantastic street art featuring Keith and Rory sum up the best of BUSHMILLS, namely genuine friends hanging out together and enjoying award winning Irish whiskey.
Look out for Conor’s interview with Rory Best next week, previewing the huge Heineken Cup quarter-finals.