Just three changes in personnel from the Aironi game, in Munster’s starting XV for the RaboDirect PRO12 game against Leinster Friday night (8pm).
And keeping it to a minimum, just one of those changes comes in the backs, where there’s a straight swop – Lifeimi Mafi for Danny Barnes – experience probably the deciding factor in what had to be a close call.
In the pack, it’s as you were in the front-row, Damien Varley propped by the South African pairing of Wian du Preez and BJ Botha.
In the second row not surprisingly, Paul O’Connell has his usual sidekick Donncha O’Callaghan back alongside with O’Connell’s partner from last weekend, Donnacha Ryan, retained in the side but on the blindside flank.
Experience again probably decided the number 7 and 8 positions, Niall Ronan brought in on the openside at the expense of Peter O’Mahony and Denis Leamy ousting James Coughlan for the number 8 jersey, both O’Mahony and Coughlan named on the bench.
Speaking of the immediate challenge ahead Tony McGahan said. “ I don't think there are many greater challenges in European rugby than playing the Heineken champions, the number one ranked side in a sell out at the national stadium, a venue they've had wonderful success at.
"So what a perfect way to get back into the RaboDirect but also for the upcoming Heineken Cup, it’s a perfect platform to certainly give us a great indication of where we are.”
Munster. J Murphy; D Howlett, W Chambers, L Mafi, K Earls; R O’Gara, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell capt; D Ryan, N Ronan, D Leamy.
Replacements. D Fogarty, M Horan, J Hayes, P O’Mahony, J Coughlan, T O’Leary, I Keatley, D Barnes.
(Not considered because of injury: D Wallace, J Flannery, F Jones, M Sherry, Darragh Hurley, Dave O'Callaghan, T Smith, P Borlase).