Despite a defeat last week-end on a similar scale to Munster’s, Edinburgh are determined to get their RaboDirect PRO12 campaign off on the right note this evening.
Last time the sides met here in Murrayfield , almost a year ago, Edinburgh won a tad more comfortably than the 29-14 final scoreline suggests, Munster’s only try of that game scored with just seven minutes of normal time remaining.
The good news for Munster is that this evening, there won’t be too many running out with the scars of that defeat troubling their souls. Just two of the backs Ian Keatley and Denis Hurley and two forwards, Paddy Butler and Wian du Preez, were in the starting line-up 11 months ago.
However, if they perform this time around as they did that day, in fits and starts, they’ll come up short against a Michael Bradley side that includes eight of those who started in the Heineken Cup semi-final against Ulster.
Munster are a side very much in transition as evidenced by their pre-season games and coach Rob Penney will probably be just as interested in performance as anything else. His side can only be contenders if they manage to cut out a lot of the errors that have littered their games to date.
Although he has still to operate without most of the summer tourists, there’s plenty of experience sprinkled throughout his ranks and although it would be reasonable to expect to it to take a number of games before new players and new combinations gel, the indications that that process has begun should be evidenced this evening.
Munster: D Hurley; D Howlett capt, C Laulala, J Downey, L O’Dea; I Keatley, D Williams; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O’Callaghan, B Holland; P Butler, S Dougall, J Coughlan. Replacements: M Sherry, D Kilcoyne, S Archer, D Foley, B O’Mahony, P Stringer, S Deasy, I Dineen.
Edinburgh Rugby. Greig Tonks; Lee Jones, Nick De Luca, Ben Atiga, Tim Visser; Greig Laidlaw capt, Richie Rees; John Yapp, Ross Ford, Willem Nel; Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox?; David Denton, Ross Rennie, Stuart McInally. Replacements: Andy Titterrell, Allan Jacobsen, Geoff Cross, Perry Parker, Dimitri Basilaia, Chris Leck, Gregor Hunter, John Houston??