And Gloucester arrive at this stage of the competition in good health following facile victories over Treviso away and Bourgoin at home coupled with the morale boosting win over Leicester Tigers a week ago.
Yes they are without the influential Thinus Delport and suspended hooker Chris Fortey but Delport s replacement Chris Goodridge is a lethal strike runner even if he looked a little suspect under the high ball against the Tigers.
From Munster s point of view this game represents the first of two that could ultimately decide who goes through to the next phase of the competition. On the face of it, a 3-0 victory over Connacht pales in comparison to what Gloucester achieved in Welford Road but team captain Jim Williams, speaking from the team hotel in Cheltenham expressed his satisfaction with his side s state of read iness for this titanic clash.
I d be very happy with the way things have gone. Obviously the break with players away wasn t ideal but the game against Connacht was an ideal lead-in. It w as a physical, hard match and exactly what was needed with this game in mind. Since then we ve put in a good week training, there was a really good buzz in the squad and I think we ll givbe a good account of ourselves this afternoon.
Munster finished their preparation with the usual Captain s run yesterday, conducted at Brockworth Secondary School located five minutes from the Moat House hotel where the team are staying. This morning they awoke to mild wet weather, breakfasted by 11 am and then did their line-out drill in the hotel car park.
They will leave the hotel for the ground at 3.15.
Munster Team to Face Gloucester:
Shaun Payne; John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson, Anthony Horgan; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, John Hayes; Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell; Jim Williams capt, David Wallace, Anthony Foley.
Replacements: James Blaney, Gordon McIlwham, David Pusey, Stephen Keogh, Eoin Reddan, Jeremy Staunton, Jason Holland.
Jon Goodridge, Marcel Garvey, Terry Fanolua, Henry Paul, James Simpson-Daniel, Duncan McRae, Andy Gomarsall, Trevor Woodman, Chris Collins, Andy Deacon, Alex Brown, Mark Cornwell, Jake Boer (c), Peter Buxton, Junior Paramore.
Replacements: Rob Elloway (hooker), Paul Johnstone (prop), Rodrigo Roncero (prop), Adam Eustace (lock), James Merriman (back-row), Alex Page (scrum-half), Robert Todd (centre/wing).
Munster v Gloucester Heineken Cup Round 3 Venue: Kingsholm, Gloucester Date: Saturday, January 10th at 5pm. TV Coverage: Sky Sports 2.