Munster ace Paul O’Connell says revenge over Northampton Saints will not be a major spur for his side when they kick off another Heineken Cup campaign later this year.
The two-time winners were beaten by the English side in the final of the competition back in 2000, but giant lock O’Connell says both teams are much-changed since then and if anything the memory will only be thrown in as an extra incentive when they meet in Pool One.
Munster and Northampton were drawn alongside Perpignan and Benetton Treviso in Tuesday’s draw for the 2009/10 competition, with the Irish side looking to reach the last eight for the 12th year in succession and hoping to regain the trophy they lost to fellow Irish achievers Leinster this year.
Taking time out from his preparation for the British and Irish Lions’ latest game against The Sharks on Wednesday, O’Connell sad of the draw: "It's a standard Munster draw, we generally draw some of the top teams in the competitions.
"We've Perpignan, the French champions, who have probably one of the biggest budgets in the whole of French rugby. It's typical of a Munster draw, it's going to be incredibly hard to come out of that group.”
He added: “Northampton Saints, they've just won the Challenge Cup final and they've invested heavily, signed a lot of players.
"It's the first time we've had an Italian team in a long time, the Italian champions. It's a very tough draw, as usual."
As for the revenge factor on Northampton, O’Connell concluded: “Ah, that's a long time ago. I don't know how many players remain from then. We've probably Wally [David Wallace], [Ronan] O'Gara, [Peter] Stringer, a few others hanging on.
"But I suppose you bring everything you can to a game and that'll probably be one of the things we'll be bringing to it."
HEINEKEN CUP 2009/10 POOLS
POOL 1: Munster, Perpignan, Northampton Saints, Benetton Treviso
POOL 2: Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque, Gloucester Rugby, Newport Gwent Dragons, Glasgow Warriors
POOL 3: Leicester Tigers, Ospreys, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Viadana
POOL 4: Bath Rugby, Stade Français Paris, Ulster Rugby, Edinburgh
POOL 5: Toulouse, Cardiff Blues, Sale Sharks, Harlequins
POOL 6: Leinster, London Irish, Scarlets, Brive
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