The countdown to the end of the season begins in earnest this evening with the visit of a Glasgow Warriors outfit hell bent on qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Magners League.
And they arrive in Thomond Park Stadium not only with a better record to date in this competition and an early season win over Munster but with eight of the side that destroyed Ireland’s Triple Crown hopes less than a week ago.
And while Keith Earls, Tomas O’Leary, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Paul O’Connell and David Wallace watch from the stands, their international colleagues Ronan O’Gara and Donncha O’Callaghan will be back in action.
All the indications are that the Warriors travel more in confidence than hope and when you hear their coach lauding Munster’s consistency – which is actually inferior this season to his own side’s – then it’s time to take heed.
Tony Buckley is a late withdrawal from the Munster team with illness, coach Tony McGahan brings Frenchman Julien Brugnaut straight in as replacement and Munster will have to rediscover their best form if they’re to get anything from this game.
Last time out they accounted for Scarlets in the re-arranged game at Musgrave Park but before that they were disappointing against Dragons in Rodney Parade and tonight’s game will require a very special effort if Munster are to retain their place in the top four.
Munster: P Warwick; D Hurley, L Mafi, J de Villiers, I Dowling; R O’Gara capt, P Stringer; M Horan, D Fogarty, J Brugnaut; D O’Callaghan, M O’Driscoll; A Quinlan, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Varley, D Ryan, B Holland, N Williams, D Williams, T Gleeson, D Howlett.
Glasgow Warriors: B Stortoni; P Murchie, M Evans, G Morrison, DTH van der Merwe; D Parks, C Cusiter; J Welsh, D Hall, M Low; R Gray, D Turner; K Brown, J Barclay capt, J Beattie. Replacements: F Thomson, K Tkachuk, T Barker, R Vernon, M McMillan, C Gregor, H O’Hare.
Referee: James Jones (WRU).