Scarlets 11-3 win last night over Edinburgh at Parc Y Scarlets leaves the Welsh side just eight points behind Munster ahead of the trip to Aironi, while the Blues, nine points adrift have a game in hand and a trip to Ravenhill tonight.
Munster begin their arduous journey when they assemble tonight in a Dublin Airport Hotel for a 6.30am check-in tomorrow and flight departure for Milan and hour later. Then it's a two and a half hour coach trip to Parma where they're expected to arrive at 2pm (local time).
On arrival at the team hotel, Anthony Foley can be expected to immediately establish contact with some one back home to monitor progress in the Melrose versus Bristol British & Irish Cup game at Netherdale. Foley will be hoping that the Scottish Border side can turn over the English team and thus do Munster an enormous favour to give them a place in the knock-out stages of the competition. When asked what the possibilities of a Melrose victory, Foley's response was simply, "stranger things have happened."
His main focus will however switch quickly back to the task in hand and the game the following day against a side who although propping up the table have shown enough good home form to make Munster wary. Ulster escaped Zaffanella with a one score victory margin while Edinburgh and Italian rivals had the minimum to spare in their victories.
The home side will also have seen how their Magners neighbours Treviso put one over the League leaders and will doubtless fancy their chances to repeat the dose.
And with the chasing pack closing, Munster will not be happy with the same return as their last trip to Italy a fortnight ago. In that game the introduction from the bench sparked a comeback that almost snatched victory and one of those replacements Denis Hurley is in from the start this time and is hoping for better fortune from this trip.
"I dont really think this is a case of making amends, not at all. After the Treviso loss, we knew we had to bounce back and we did against Edinburgh in what was a much improved display."
"Now it's a case of maintaining that momentum. We won't be looking at League positions because its a question of how we perform on the day. Every point counts in this competition and even more so now. It's very much a case of getting our own performance right and seeing where that takes us."
Next weekend it's a home game for Munster against Dragons in the last game of the season at Musgrave Park