18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
Thursday - 'I love the sun, but the sun doesn't love me.'
That's the quote of the day from the lads on Thursday when we assembled and trained in our own stadium, Stade les Sept Deniers. Myself, Emile Ntamack and Yann Delaigue did a 20 minute run. By the end of the session, I looked a like a red gooseberry.
Thursday and Friday were absolute scorchers. The team is picked. I'm starting but I still have to do that team run on Friday.
Friday morning - I feel good but I'm rooming with Jimmy Hendrix.
I speak to some Irish people who are staying in our hotel and they say the Irish have taken over Toulouse. I never experienced this level of opposition and spirit before, nor this level of alcohol consumed. I'd say the bars and hotels wished they were playing Munster every week.
The team run went brilliant for me. The tear in the 'quad' was still there but there was no more damage to it. On Friday night I was rooming with Finau Maka, otherwise known as Jimmy Hendrix. Wants to be a rock star more than a rugby star. One of these guys still living in the 70s. Around town there were a few Munster supporters sporting the Maka mop of hair. Finau was surprised about the level of his Irish support, having never set foot in the country.
There were the usual antics at the team meal on Friday night. Being the last to sit down at our table my chair had been left soaked through by a bottle of water.
I found out Yann Delaigue, sitting to my right, was the culprit. Toward the end of the meal I ordered a cup of tea with a hot pot of water and left my spoon soaking in it for ten minutes. Then I left Yann running around the room with a third degree burn on his left ear. The lads hadn't seen this one before. It's an old Peter Clohessy trick.
There was a lot in the papers, such as Midi Olympique, about whether I would play or not. The boys think this is funny, as it seems the game is only about me, and I start getting stick about this. So I had them translate an old Oscar Wilde saying: 'There's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about.'
After dinner the coach, Guy Noves, says that things were getting a bit out of hand, perhaps because the manager had been hit with a bread roll while the soup had been served, while Fred Michalak had been stabbed with a fork by Fabien Pelous and Garbajosa's back was killing him as he'd been attacked by Patrice Collazo for stealing his phone during the meal. This is all genuine.
A sleepless night was had and I played the match through about four times in my head. I was in the bed by 10 but the last time I looked at my watch it was about 3.20am. We'd won the match, we'd lost the match, I'd been sent off, Quinny had been sent-off. And meanwhile Jimmy Hendrix has been snoring since about 11. I contemplate putting the pay tv back on, but that's a big No.
I feel very good, but I can't eat - the stomach is in knots. The usual routine: breakfast followed by a rub and a stretch, team talk, a rest, then assembly again and onto the bus. I put on my earphones and listen to the Wolfe Tones. Nothing like it to get you worked up for a game. Then the song came on: 'You'll Never Beat the Irish.' Time to change the cd. A bit of AC/DC.
Most of the guys take a walk out onto the pitch but I always do my own thing, and I never enter the pitch until we have to do the warm-up. Time goes by and it's three minutes to kick-off. The referee comes in and then we come together for our final few words. I said: 'aujourd'hui pour moi, gagnez aujourd'hui pour moi.'
What a roar entering the pitch. 'Munster, Munster, Munster.' 'Toulousain, Toulousain, Toulousain.' The drums and badhrans beating. I've been here nine months but this is an atmosphere I don't think you'd get anywhere except maybe Barcelona v Real Madrid.
It's the sort of thing you can't explain to people at home, that's why I'm glad that 12,000 Munster fans got to experience it. In an all-seater stadium everyone is on their feet, jumping up and down. 'Qui ne saute pas n'est pas Toulousain.' He who doesn't jump is not Toulousain.
Munster dominated the first 40; line-outs, scrums, mauls. All we could do was defend. Every time there was a turnover Rog put us 60 metres back down the pitch.
I busted the eye in the first five minutes tackling Hendo on one of his crash balls, and it turns out he got a sore ear out of it too. I stood up with eye closed immediately and said: 'thanks Hendo for that one.' I couldn't see out of the eye for the rest of the game, and was a bit dizzy for about ten minutes.
In the second-half the ball started to flow. This was when the Toulouse guys started to play a bit more. Two good sides, and one had to lose. It's terrible, but that's sport. Hats off to the Munster players and fans. If I could ever play for another team it would be Munster after what I've seen this weekend. Maybe in another life.
After the match I swapped jerseys with Quinny. I respect him as a player, he plays on the edge and makes life difficult for you all day. Wouldn't have it any other way. Hendo, Quinny, Axel and a few of the lads come into the dressing-room and we have a good chat.
When I come out from my shower Eddie O'Sullivan and Niall O'Donovan are there. It was nice of them to take the time out and wish me well for the final. They asked me how life was going in France. I gave them a few phrases and had a bit of laugh. 'Not a bother on you Brennan.'
Alan Gaffney. I have a lot of respect for him and I know that every Leinster player did as well. Munster are very lucky to have a man like him. He took the time out to find me in the tent after the match.
Sunday - We won't be playing Leinster after all.
I watched the Leinster game with a lot of Munster fans down in Place de St Pierre. Whether Leinster froze on the day or just thought they had to turn up I don't know, but they're capable of playing a lot better than they did on Sunday. There was a lack of hunger there, and Perpignan, despite two yellow cards, just didn't give up. They wanted it more on the day.
I feel sorry for friends like Denis, Victor and Reggie - guys who've been there for a long time. I thought it was a great opportunity for them, and I was looking forward to playing against them in the final.
But I'd really hope that Leinster and Munster supporters will come out on the day and support us. After all, there will be one Irishman in the final. I'd hate to think Lansdowne will be empty on the day.
(In an interview with Gerry Thornley).