Having done a Veni Vidi Vici back in April, Munster in Thomond Park Stadium, it would appear, hold no fear for Ospreys according to their full-back Lee Byrne.
“There are some games that you get up for a lot more than others but this is one that stands out on the calendar.” he told Rob Lloyd (South Wales Evening Post). “It's a game that all the boys are looking forward to. It's important for us to keep building and hopefully we can come away with a victory. It is going to be tough but we are building and hopefully we can replicate last season's victory.”
Ospreys completed a Magners League double over Munster with that 15-11 win last time and of course went on to win the title with victory over hot favourites Leinster in the RDS final and tomorrow's game will be the first of four scheduled meetings between the sides – three before Christmas.
However, the December games will be far from everyone's mind tomorrow according to Byrne. “We want to keep our performance levels up, especially away from home,” he said, “We're focused on league points. By the time we meet in December both sides will know a lot more about each other.”
And that's a theme Munster captain Denis Leamy continues. “December won't enter our minds at all. We've a few huge Magners League games coming up starting with this, then Glasgow and Leinster away. But they'll be dealt with, one at a time, once this is over.”
In terms of tomorrow's game Leamy feels Ospreys find themselves in an unusual situation. ” I suppose they'd have to consider themselves favourites. They won here last year, beat Leinster in the final and probably have their strongest side available. But that brings its own pressure so we'll see how they handle that.” he muses. “But they're a quality side, no question about that and always a very difficult side to play.”
Munster coach Tony McGahan makes just one change to his backline bringing in Tomas O'Leary in place of Peter Stringer. O'Leary replaced Stringer in the Edinburgh game in the 50th minute and he was followed on just two minutes later by Ronan O'Gara whose nerveless penalty snatched the win for Munster.
McGahan has resisted the obvious temptation to retain O'Gara who will doubtless be sprung from the bench once again but he does retain the front five that finished the Murrayfield game, Mick O'Driscoll ruled out with a back problem, with the same starting back-row, Leamy once again retaining the captain's armband although it's expected that Alan Quinlan, winning his 200th cap, will lead the side out to what should be a raucous reception.
Munster: F Jones; D Howlett, J Murphy, S Tuitupou, I Dowling; P Warwick, T O'Leary; M Horan, D Fogarty, J Hayes; D O'Callaghan, D Ryan; A Quinlan, N Ronan, D Leamy capt. Replacements: D Varley,W du Preez, T Buckley, B Holland,P O'Mahony, P Stringer, R O'Gara, D Barnes.