Ospreys clash is not for faint-hearted - Leicester Tigers' Geordan Murphy
The Liberty Stadium will be no place for faint hearts when Leicester Tigers face the Ospreys in their penultimate Heineken Cup pool game tomorrow.
Tigers club captain Geordan Murphy already has a pretty good idea of what the atmosphere in south Wales will be like.
"Whoever handles the occasion best will win the game," he said succinctly.
Having played in so many major games for Tigers, 34-year-old Murphy is better qualified than most to put forward that view.
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"It is a huge game," he said. "The Ospreys are a quality side and they showed their ability last time out when they beat Toulouse. To beat them at any stage is a fantastic result."
Having started 72 Heineken Cup games in Tigers colours, Murphy still relishes the adrenalin rush of stepping on to the European stage.
"It started building from a couple of weeks ago," he said. "The game has been at the back of everyone's minds. The press days are bigger, too, with all the Heineken Cup bunting around.
"Everyone is looking forward to the game – there is a lot resting on it. Both teams need to win. It is crucial."
Injury rules Murphy out of tomorrow's game, as it did in the first game between the sides, which Tigers won 39-22 at Welford Road in October. "That was a high-scoring game," Murphy recalled. "A couple of decisions went our way and we got a couple of good bounces and scored tries from them. The games we have played there have been tough, close-run affairs with defence one of the things people have talked about afterwards.
"Tomorrow, we will have to do all the things that we do well. We will have to be strong in the set-piece and our defence will have to be good again because they have some elusive players in their backline and play a good style of rugby."
Over the last few months, Tigers have been involved in a series of hard-fought games in Europe and the Premiership. They remain well and truly alive in both competitions, but Murphy is expecting matters to begin moving forward at even greater pace from tomorrow.
"The format of the Premiership means that games are always close-run affairs," he said. "They are always intense.
"But the level rises for European games. When I first saw the groups, I knew it would be tough. We have the French champions, the Pro12 champions and the Premiership runners up in one group. It was never going to be easy."