Gaffney confirmed on Wednesday that neither Rob Henderson (foot) nor Anthony Horgan (ribs) would be available and he thought it unlikely that Donncha O'Callaghan would be involved. O'Callaghan was called up to the national training camp which is being run for three days this week but the Munster coach was unclear whether O'Callaghan would be available to him for Friday's game.
"I think it highly unlikely that Donncha will take any part. As for finalising the side, I'm not sure when exactly I can do that. I must wait until I hear from the national management to see what players will be available to me."
Gaffney was obviously referring to players like Frank Sheahan and Marcus Horan who along with David Wallace spent this week with the national squad and will have therefore had no opportunity to train with their Munster colleagues ahead of a game that they simply must win to restore some degree of confidence in the squad with the Heineken Cup quarter final just over a month away.
Munster have lost their last three games and realistically have lost any real hope of retaining their title. However it will be important to re-build momentum ahead of the huge test against Stade Francais on Easter Saturday. Building that momentum with most of his squad missing is something Gaffney has to cope with and having beaten England in Twickenham, the national focus will be on the Triple Crown.
That being the case the Celtic League now becomes, from a national perspective, very small potatoes indeed and unfortunately the knock-on effect of that apathy might not manifest itself until Easter Saturday.
On the other hand Dragons coach Mike Ruddock brings over a near full-strength side, with Shawn Van Rensburg the only notable absentee. The big number 8 is replaced in the Dragons side by Bobby Skinstad, one of the truly greats of world rugby while Skinstad's compatriot Percy Montgomery is also included in the starting line up.
Ruddock has rung the changes from a week ago when his side were beaten 48-20 in Hughenden. Ben Breeze is dropped and Montgomery has Andy Marinos as midfield partner, with another international, Hal Luscombe selected on the wing. Up front international Chris Anthony replaces Rhys Thomas in front where Adam Black ousts Canadian international Rod Snow.
Scotland squad member Ross Beattie who played in the second row against Glasgow reverts to his more familiar back row for a game that Ruddock will desperately want to win to keep alive their hopes of lifting the title. The Dragons currently lie in third place just four points off the leaders Ulster who play fourth placed Celtic Warriors at The Brewery Field.
The Dragon's recent away form has not been good - they've lost their last two games on the road - while they're unbeaten at Rodney Parade. Ruddock will have seen nothing on the videos of Munster's last three games to make him believe that anything other than a win for his Dragons is on.