No matter how you dress it up, beginning your Heineken Cup campaign with a trip to France is not the chosen route for any side with ambitions of furtherment.
In an ideal world when you have a French side in your Pool and particularly one of the quality of Racing Metro, the preferred option would be to get them at home first and then travel for the last Pool game in the hope that by then their interest in the competion will have waned and their focus returned to their beloved Top 14.
But as things stand Munster must do it the hard way and this afternoon Doug Howlett will lead his side out at an 81,000+ capacity Stade de France where 30,000, mostly Parisians will give vent to their enthusiasm for a side that ironically will contain not one Parisian.
Nevertheless, in a mirror image of what Max Guzziani did at Stade Francais, Jacky Lorenzetti has done at Racing and his assembly of high profile and high paid United Nations of players include the likes of Mirco Bergamasco, Olly Barkley, Andrea Lo Cicero, Dimitri Szarzewski and skipper Jacque Cronje.
And it all adds up to a pretty heady mix.
They don't have a European pedigree to speak of but they do have experience and the quality of player that gives them street cred and like any French side they, when they're on their game they can be fairly lethal.
And what of Munster? They probably find themselves in a similar situation that Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, Marcus Horan and Peter Stringer – veterans of today's side – found themselves at the start, when they set out on what was to be a marvellous journey some ten plus years ago.
Then, they were the young guns looking to Mick Galwey, Peter Clohessy, Dominic Crotty et al for leadership and direction. And now its their turn to play that part.
To that end the inclusion of O'Connell is a massive boost and particularly in the absence of Donncha O'Callaghan who was enjoying a rich vein of form.
The battle up front will be as physical as it will be decisive and if Munster can break even in that area, they do have the quality in the backs to leave Paris with points in the bag.
Munster Rugby: Ian Keatley; Doug Howlett (c), Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ronan O'Gara, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Paul O'Connell; Donnacha Ryan, Sean Dougall, Peter O'Mahony. Replacements: Mike Sherry, Marcus Horan, Stephen Archer, David O'Callaghan, Paddy Butler, Peter Stringer, Danny Barnes, Denis Hurley.
Racing Metro 92: Benjamin Fall; Julien Jane, Mirco Bergamasco, Fabrice Estebanez, Julien Saubade; Olly Barkley, Maxime Machenaud; Andrea Lo Cicero, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Ducalcon; Karim Ghezal, Francois Carl Van der Merwe; Antoine Battut, Jacques Cronje (c), Sakiusa Matadigo. Replacements: Thomas Bianchin, Eddy Ben Arous, Fabrice Metz, Bernard Le Roux, Camille Gerondeau, Sebastien Descons, Virimi Vakatawa, Benjamin Salemane Sa.