After his side's impressive performance in the competition's penultimate round against Edinburgh for which he made 11 changes, Head Coach Rob Penney was asked about Munster's increasing strength in depth;
"It's been a long season and the growth of the group has been terrific. On the back of a six day turn around and the disappointment of Marseille, to have to fly back out to an Edinburgh side who have been difficult was a tough one - to out 50 points on them was really pleasing and I'm very proud of the group.
"Up until the past 12 month the word 'transition' was being used an awful lot about this team. One of the most pleasing things is that it hasn't been used in the last 12 months.
"When you lose somebody of Doug Howlett and Ronan O'Gara's ilk in one hit, let alone all the other boys, it's not easy. However there's been no mention of or calls to bring those guys back because of the great job the young guys have done in stepping into their mammoth void."
Damien Varley made an earlier than expected appearance in the Scottish capital on Saturday, Duncan Casey leaving the field after 30 minutes with a shoulder injury. He also spoke about the strength in depth shown by Munster;
"There's been a lot of selection disappointment for guys in the last 12 months but Rob said before the game that this is your chance to put your hand up and prove the point you are in contention for selection. It's now the fine business end of the season and with only one competition remaining people have to fight even harder for inclusion."
Varley was also delighted to return to action following the agonising defeat to Toulon;
"I think with the disappointment of the previous week everyone was very eager to get out and play some sort of rugby. It was a good performance on the back of Marseille, we put some good phases together and came away a lot happier than when we went into it. It was good to dust off the cobwebs of Heineken Cup disappointment."
The Munster hooker is relishing this weekend's challenge but remains wary of what Ulster will bring;
"No later than last January it was a very tough battle up in Ravenhill. This weekend is an interprovincial game, where points will want to be proven on both sides with players wanting to put their hands up for the remainder of this competition and for international spots on tours at the end of the season."
Were Glasgow to be their semi-final opposition, Varley thinks it would make an intriguing encounter;
"We had a pivotal win away to them at the earlier part of the season, proving to us that we were able to grind out wins and sustain serious pressure on our own line for the last 10 minutes. On the flip side they made fools of us on the return journey to Thomond Park. It's one all at the moment and the decider in such a crucial game would indeed be very interesting."
Meanwhile, South African flyer Gerhard Van Den Heever knows that a similar performance to the Ravenhill outing in January would land Munster in trouble come Saturday;
"I don't think we played our best rugby last time out against Ulster, making a lot of mistakes. Our guys know what they have to do and a similar performance this weekend, especially in front of a home crowd in Thomond Park is unacceptable."
Munster vs Ulster, Thomond Park Stadium, Sat May 10th, KO 18:30.
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