The opening game against London Irish was a pretty scrappy affair from a Munster viewpoint, with precious provided in entertainment in the course of a game that attracted a crowd of approximately 5000. Ball was coughed up easily and passes went to ground at an alarming rate although perhaps the one positive was the quality for most parts of the Munster defence which would have pleased onlooking defence coach Mike Steadman.
In mitigation, it was Munster's first game (London Irish had already been in action) and Gaffney used the occasion to use all of his squad with the exception of the unavailable internationals plus Shaun Payne and John Kelly who weren't considered for slection - Payne and Kelly have been back in camp a shorter time than the rest of the squad because of their involvemnt with the Ireland squad in South Africa.
This time around a marked improvement will be expected and it will be needed against a Falcons side that will include the mercurial Jonny Wilkinson who is expected to be given even more game time than he did against Connacht.
For Munster it is a question of getting back into a winning groove and building confidence in what is a relatively young inexperienced squad up front. Yes there are the hardy annuals such as Jim Williams, Gordon McIlwham and Mike Storey, but Storey is just bedding-in, Stephen Keogh has just turned 22, Denis Leamy was 23 in November last while Trevor Hogan has yet to experience Heineken Cup fare and he partners the red-raw Ryan in the boiler house on Monday.
There is of course loads of experience in the backs but they will want to prove more of a threat against Wilko and Co than they did against London Irish. The only try they scored that night came as a result of a breakout by Christian Cullen with Brian Touhy showing a nice turn of pace to add the finishing touch.
Munster will need to shake off any remaining cobwebs on Monday night. Things that have been practiced in training need to be perfected in Thomond in order that they head to Wales in some degree of confidence because they will face a full strength Ospreys side who doubtless have targeted a decisive win as the best possible start to their season.