The last of the pre-season games heralded the end of the phony war with the real thing beginning this evening when Munster host Newport Gwent Dragons in round one of the RaboDirect PRO12 League at Musgrave Park (7.45pm)
And despite the absence of their marque names whether they be in Queenstown New Zealand or in Limerick as is the case with the injured Felix Jones and David Wallace, Munster will start a warm order with the bookies to get their defence of the title off to a positive start.
Tony McGahan stated the importance of winning your homes games for any side harbouring title ambitions, so he has set out his stall in no uncertain fashion. To that end he's picked a side that has loads of experience in the shape of Johne Murphy, Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Peter Stringer, Marcus Horan, Niall Ronan and Mick O'Driscoll alongside the burgeoning talent of youngster like Danny Barnes, Mike Sherry, and captain this evening Peter O'Mahony.
There's a first competitive start for Ian Keatley who will benefit from having the experienced Stringer inside while Munster also name a particularly strong looking bench that includes Damien Varley, Wian Du Preez and John Hayes.
But whatever the bookies or anyone else thinks the Dragons won't be making this trip just for the scenery. They showed what an improving side they are at the tail end of last season with impressive wins over title contenders Ospreys and Cardiff Blues and beat Munster early doors at Rodney Parade.
Munster need to establish a pattern early and not allow Dragons slip into theirs because as they've shown in the past if they're allowed to play the way they set out, Dragons are capable of causing an upset.
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.
Referee: Stefano Penne.