In round one Munster are away to their league opponents Edinburgh Rugby and Penney confirmed there is a case for caution when playing such a familiar opponent saying, "Playing Edinburgh so much does present its own challenges and it's a case of the devil you know versus the devil you don't. Edinburgh won't be the same side as they were last year and if they replicate what they did the year before they'll be very dangerous.
You can't leave any stone unturned in terms of preparation and we can't assume anything based on last year's results, and that's with everybody."
Gloucester travel for an opening pre-season game to Thomond Park on August 24th and according to Rob "that's worked out well for them, and that's the way it is. We're looking forward to hosting them in Thomond Park and there's a little bit of history there which always adds a bit of spice to it."
It's French opposition then for the challenge of the back to back games with Perpignan at home first. "Perpignan are a side that are really trying to force their way in to the top echelon of the Top 14. They are going to take this competition, as they always do, really seriously and they will look to be another French club to make it to that top level of Heineken Cup which is always challenging.
I know it is a 6 day turnaround but they have to travel home after the first leg so it all equates out to be fair, and we'll have the same build-up to the game. The group that caters for that the best will end up being in the best shape for that second back to back game. There are a few things to get sorted before we get to that point but it is something to be mindful of. We'll hopefully have all our squad available and we'll determine what we'll do as we get closer to the business part of that programme.
And finally commenting on the last round against Edinburgh in Thomond Park Penney believes it will be a crucial tie adding, "History would indicate that the last pool game at home can be critical, not just for Munster but for a lot of teams in this competition, and knowing you've a home game in a place like Thomond Park is quite consoling."