Munster star Doug Howlett believes the absence of internationals during the World Cup will make the 2011/12 RaboDirect Pro12 season one of the most unpredictable in years.
Ireland have called up nine Munster players alone but every team will be affected during the tournament which runs from September 2 to World Cup final on October 23.
And that means every club, including Munster, will have to rely on the squad strength – which former All Black Howlett believes means supporters should expect the unexpected.
He said: “I guess we are going to miss people but that said there are a group of players waiting for the last two years to get their shot and show what they can do. It is exciting that these young players are getting their chance.
“With the new and younger players coming through there’s a bit of uncertainty there. With the internationals players there you know what you are going to get.
“You see them week in, week out. These guys will be looking to make a name for themselves.
“We can’t look past the Dragons who are our first game at home. They have caused us quite a few problems in the last few seasons. We are expecting a tough one.”