sport

Downey seeks Toulon upset

James Downey hopes Munster can continue to build their Heineken Cup legacy when they take on Toulon in Sunday's semi-final.

The Irish province head to the Stade Velodrome in Marseille to face Europe's reigning club champions, and although they go in as outsiders, their win over Toulouse in the last-eight showed they will be no pushover.

Munster won the tournament in 2006 and 2008 and have been beaten finalists twice as well, and Downey is keen their current younger side shows the passion those squads did.

"The tradition and history is there, and it's what the club is renowned for," centre Downey said.

"The players come into the club knowing that - they know about Munster from the Heineken Cup.

"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.

"The lads put their heads down and really pick things up in a Heineken Cup week. It's a competition where we do produce big performances.

"The (RaboDirect) PRO12 is your bread and butter and it's what you do day in and day out, but the big crowds and the big games are always in the Heineken.

"It is the hype you get that you wouldn't normally get in the Rabo. The Heineken Cup is the Champions League (of rugby) and you want to be playing there."

Munster bowed out at this stage last season, losing to Clermont, and Downey is also keen to avoid a repeat of that very disheartening defeat.

"We realised in the dressing room afterwards that we had let it slip," he added.

"We had a great chance to beat Clermont, and we said to ourselves that we had to remember that game for this year.

"We are more confident now, we're more experienced and more prepared than we were last year. We've got another chance to do it. It's going to be a great occasion, and the lads will really be up for it.

"Sunday is the obstacle in front of both me and the team getting back into a final, and we will be doing all we can to get to Cardiff (on May 24)."