Five Minutes with Peter Stringer

2 April 2015

We grabbed five minutes with Bath Rugby scrum-half and legend of the Irish game, Peter Stringer, ahead of Saturday's Champions Cup clash with his old foes Leinster.

The Aviva Stadium (and Lansdowne Road before it) has been the scene of some great victories for you. When you moved to England, did you ever foresee yourself potentially running out on that field again?

I always had the dream and the ambition to play there again for Ireland, as I have had many great days in the old and new stadium. I have been waiting for a fixture like this since I joined the Club just over two years ago. Now that it's here, I cannot wait.

What is your favourite memory of playing there?

The 2006 Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster in Lansdowne Road stands out. We won 30-6. Playing against Leinster, you're always prepared for a tough and physical match. The fixture is labelled as an Irish trial match and there is always so much at stake when you take the field.

Tell us about the rivalry between Munster and Leinster.

I think all local derby games mean so much to the players that are involved, especially when they come from the area themselves. Traditionally, the majority of Munster and Leinster players are born and bred in the provinces. The fan base for both teams is spread right across the country and the supporters feel they have a connection with the guys who have grown up in their village or town. This patriotism adds to the rivalry and atmosphere for these big games.

What was the main factor in Irish provincial rugby becoming so successful in Europe?

Initially the teams struggled because the provinces were only representative sides and you only played with the guys in three or four games a year.The club scene was always very competitive but when the game turned professional,the IRFU decided to put the provinces into the Heineken cup as the clubs would not have been able to compete with the top sides in Europe.There is a large pool of players to choose from across the province and that has always been a strength of Munster, to bring local guys through.

Will the Irish supporters know what to expect from Bath Rugby come Saturday?

Irish rugby supporters have always had an interest in watching Premiership Rugby and, particularly over the last couple of years, will have seen our performances and certainly will have taken note. With the performances of our guys in the Six Nations for England, the Irish public are certainly more aware of Bath as a team on the up. For me personally, to play a part in a win against Leinster in Dublin wearing the Bath colours would be very special.

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