In terms of Ulster’s PRO12 league position, tomorrow’s trip to Thomond Park is a dead rubber.
Ulster secured fourth place last week with a losing bonus point in the 22-20 defeat by Leinster – a postion that cannot be bettered.
But for Ireland lock Dan Tuohy there is plenty up for grabs in Limerick.
“It’s about proving a point as a team and personally it is quite an important game for me,” said Tuohy.
“I have just returned from inujury so fitness wise, Irish tour wise and trying to get into the Ulster starting XV for the semi final because Hendy (Iain Henderson) is doing a a decent job at the moment.
“For me there is a lot riding on it and Callum as well I’m not too sure what the story is with Tom (Court) regarding the semi-final, there are a lot of guys leaving and they are motivated to win in the Ulster shirt.
“We have lost three of the last four games in the PRO12 although it has no bearing on what happens on the league table. I think personally it has a bearing on your pride and what you want to achieve as a player.”
Munster could still finish second but that would require an unexpected chain of results.
“Realistically they probably haven’t a chance of second with Glasgow playing Zebre, “ pondered Touhy, although it was the Italians who practically shut the door on Ospreys’ hopes of overhauling Ulster in a shock win last week.
In terms of what Ulster will face in Thomond Park, irrespective of who is in their line-up, Tuohy knows they will be going all guns to at least give them the best chance of sneaking a home semi if the chance arose.
“I saw Paul (O’Connell) play against Edinburgh last weekend with Conor ( Murray) and Zebs (Simon Zebo) so I don’t know if they will play this week but whether it’s Paul, the two Donnachas (O’Callaghan and Ryan) or Dave Foley there are guys there in and round for international honours. that I am up against,” said Tuohy.
“It’s a personal battle between the second rows myself and Lewis (Stevenson) will be looking to implement our physicality, and not on the other guys in our position, but to lead our pack through and try to take our leadership and experience and guide the younger guys into the game because Thomond Park can be a tough place to play.
“Sometimes when you have no pressure on you, you can go in and enjoy the game play a little bit of rugby, and let’s be honest no one is going to give us a hope in hell so we can go out and play and hopefully get a result.”
No matter at what stage of the season or where the teams are in the league Tuohy feels Ulster against Munster is always a tough derby.
“It adds a little bit of spice we do get on really well and you could see after the Leinster game all of us were shaking hands
“It’s a battle on the pitch but you do get on well with them afterwards because thy are generally a decent bunch of blokes, “ smiles the Ulster second row.
“When it comes to Munster there is still that rivalry. You put on the white shirt with the red hand on your chest you play Munster it’s just the way it is, you enjoy it, you embrace and you never know we could still have them in the final of the Rabo.
“It’s an interpro this weekend and we’ll probably have another next weekend so it’s a juicy enough end to the season.
“We have fond memories of Thomond Park, I wasn’t involved in the game last year but the boys played well
“It was a so called weakened side and they competed for about 50 minutes.
“With us not being able to get third (in the league) the coaches have gone with the scientific approach of resting the senior players and hopefully it will pay off.”
“We are going to win this game and enjoy it.
Touhy enjoyed his first Six Nations start against Scotland but in the next game he picked up an injury and he is hoping for a change of fortune as this season concludes and he set his sighs on the 2015 world cup.
“I picked up a broken forearm against Wales, came back for a couple of games then broke my hand against Cardiff with Ulster.
“Then played against Saracens and then had surgery the week after. so it seems to be one thing after another.
“With injuries but hopefully that is the end of it and I can get a couple of games under my belt here and force my way into the Ireland set up for the Argentina tour.
“I have been fortunate with injuries in my career but the timing of them were horrendous. I hope that will change.”