8 Dec, 15:36
Munster produced their best performance of the season to secure a bonus-point 36-8 win over Perpignan at Thomond Park on Sunday.
It'll be their fourth game of the season but Tony McGahan agrees that expectations for this one will be different from the August matches.
"Everything you do in pre-season (games) from our perspective is building towards the first game and then get a result. We haven't been playing for points the last three weeks, this weekend we are. We've had a good start to our domestic campaigns over the last period of time. We're at home first up so you really need to be winning your home games and for us, that starts this weekend."
Continuing the theme of home game importance McGahan says, "If you've got any ambitions of being successful at the back-end of the season and being in semi finals or in our case looking for a home semi final, if you don't win your home games, you've no chance at all. So you really want to get some momentum early and winning your first home game is part of that and then collating that and bringing all your home games into the final jig-saw."
Meanwhile, Dragons coach Darren Edwards has handed starts to new signings Tom Brown and Joe Bedford for Saturday's match in Cork. Other newcomers, Rhys Buckley and Nathan Williams are set to make their competitive debuts off the bench as Dragons look for just their second win over Munster away from home.
Munster: J Murphy; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, D Hurley; I Keatley, P Stringer; M Horan, M Shery, S Archer; B Holland, M O'Driscoll; P O'Mahony capt, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Varley, W Du Preez, J Hayes, D Foley, T O'Donnell, D Williams, S Deasy, S Zebo.
Newport Gwent Dragons: S Jones; A Hughes, T Riley, A Smith, Mike Poole; Jason Tovey, J Bedford; P Price, T Willis, B Castle; A Jones, R Sidoli; A Coombs, G Thomas, T Brown. Replacements: R Buckley, N Williams, D Way, J Groves, H Ellis, W Evans, P Leach, M Thomas.