23 Apr 14
This weekend the 16th Man takes to the seas and skies as the Red Army #InvadeMarseille for the Heineken Cup semi-final. Here's your guide to what's going on and how to get around Marseille.
Munster will obviously be keen to re-ignite their league challenge following two defeats at the end of the last block of games but there's also the matter of what lies ahead and in particular the clash against Northampton in two weeks time.
Munster retain five (Murphy, Howlett, Barnes, du Preez & O'Mahony) of those who have featured all along in the League and who all played in the game against Ospreys last time out. A measure of O'Mahony's progress is his inclusion in the side tomorrow evening.
But besides the attraction of seeing the international brigade there's also the opportunity to assess newcomer Will Chambers who partners Danny Barnes in the centre, though Tony McGahan cautions against over expectation. "Its going to take Will a little while to come into play." McGahan said after training. " His last competitive game was on the bench for Queensland in the Super 15 final which was some time ago. He had that run out for the A side in Galway, but this is an entirely different scenario. We'll look to give him every opportunity to find his feet."
Unlike the colleagues he shared the past few weeks with in New Zealand, Damien Varley has first hand experience of the RaboDirect PRO12 and having being inactive since early September the Garryowen man is keen to get back into the thick of things. " I really enjoyed the (New Zealand) experience. Obviously a little disappointed not to have gotten some game time but overall, yes, a wonderful experience. But now it's done with and I can't wait to get out on the field on Friday night.
"We have a few hugely important weeks ahead and will be looking to get things off on the right foot on Friday. I'd be expecting a very physical challenge, you always do with the Italians."
Aironi Rugby: Ruggero Trevisan; Sinoti Sinoti, Andrea Masi, Gilberto Pavan, Giovanbattista Venditti; Luciano Orquera, Tyson Keats; Matias Aguero, Fabio Ongaro, Fabio Staibano; Marco Bortolami (capt) Nicola Cattina; Simone Favaro, Joshua Furno, Josh Sole. Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Giulio Toniolatti.