It’s once more unto the breach for Munster as they take on the might of Toulon in what is effectively a winner take all match in the Stade Mayol this afternoon.
Defeats in the Madjeski and Liberty Stadiums, coupled with London Irish's abysmal form since that November encounter, leaves Munster with little or no wriggle room in their quest to reach the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup for a 13th successive season.
Pool leadersToulon go into this game as the bookie's undisputed favourites with their passionate supporters convinced that victory is, if not a foregone conclusion, then certainly given the venue and their glittering array of international stars, just a matter of rote.
What has the bookies so convinced is, what they consider Munster's, less than convincing form, their set piece performance last time out in Heineken fare in Swansea and the belief thatToulon has a pack that can demolish Munster and thus create the platform for Jonny Wilkinson to kick them into oblivion.
And whatever about the power of their pack, the importance of Wilkinson to Toulon's success, cannot be underestimated. Put quite simply, without the mercurial Englishman, their interest in the Heineken Cup would have well waned by now along with any thoughts of French Championship glory.
Wulf, Sackey, Lovobalavu, Contepomi, Kubriashvili, Fernandez Lobbe, Smith, van Niekerk, Lamont, Chesney and the great man's himself are hardly names that trip off the French tongue. They haven't come through any Toulon Academy structure. They're not wearing the Toulon shirt out of any sense of heritage or history and they'll likely remain only as long as Monsieur Boudjellal does. And he's already made it clear he's moving on in a year or two.
Nevertheless, that doesn't make them anything less than a formidable opponent. They play in a lovely stadium in front of a partisan and proud support and their home record speaks for itself.
So Munster do face a formidable task and one that many believe is beyond them based on their away form in this competition to date.
The case for the defence states they've been here before, have the oul dog for the hard road mindset and produce their best when their backs are to the wall.
The prosecution case is that they've been to the well too often, played the get out card too often and maybe just maybe the oul dog is too ould !
Whether or which, all will be revealed this afternoon in a smashing stadium in ideal conditions and what can almost certainly be guaranteed is that those watching in the Stade Mayol or on television are set to witness a cracker.
Munster: P Warwick, D Howlett, K Earls, S Tuitupou, J Murphy, R O’Gara, P Stringer, W du Preez, D Varley, J Hayes, D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell, J Coughlan, D Wallace, D Leamy [capt]. Replacements: M Sherry, D Hurley, T Buckley, M O’Driscoll, D Ryan, N Ronan, T O’Leary, L Mafi.
Toulon: R Wulf, P Sackey, G Lovobalavu, F Contepomi, C Loamanu, J Wilkinson, P Mignoni, L Emmanuelli, S Bruno, D Kubriashvili, C Samson, D Schofield, J Fernandez Lobbe, G Smith, J van Niekerk [capt]. Replacements: J Orioli, S Taumoepeau, M Merabet, J El Abd, F Auelua, R Lamont, L Magnaval, K Chesney.
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)