There’s a very perceptable buzz around D4 this afternoon as the crowds gather to get in the mood for the eagerly anticipated clash of Munster and Leinster this evening (6.30pm).
Games between the sides may not have always produced the type of display that the purists would like but nevertheless are never less than enthralling and always worth the entrance fee.
At last count there were 44,00o tickets sold and the unusually clement weather may entice even more out to witness this RaboDirect PRO12 clash.
The Munster squad, billetted in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Stillorgan went for a stroll and a cup of coffee mid morning and are expected to leave their hotel for the ground at 4.45.
There had been talk earlier in the week of the possibility of Paul O'Connell making his return tonight but that's not the case, though there was good news when Damien Varley did make the squad although any chance he may have had of grabbing the number 2 shirt certainly disappeared when he had to miss the final squad training session to go instead to Edinburgh.
It's an entirely appropriate occasion for Doug Howlett to win his 100th cap while Declan Kidney will no doubt be in attendance to see Peter O'Mahony and Donnacha Ryan makes their first starts of the season.
Leinster: I Madigan; A Conway, B O’Driscoll, F McFadden, I Nacewa; J Sexton, E Reddan; H van der Merwe, R Strauss, M Ross; D Browne, D Toner; K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Heaslip (capt). Replacements : S Cronin, J McGrath, J Hagan, T Denton, J Murphy, J Cooney, N Reid, F Carr.
Munster : D Hurley; D Howlett (capt), K Earls, C Laulala, S Zebo; R O’Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; Donncha O’Callaghan, D Ryan; Dave O’Callaghan, S Dougall, P O’Mahony. Replacements : D Varley, W du Preez, S Archer, B Holland, P Butler, D Williams, I Keatley, J Downey.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU).