Munster take their unbeaten run to the Aviva Stadium tomorrow for the Magners League clash with Leinster, a fixture that is perhaps the most compelling in the rugby calendar in these isles.
And while the nouveau Leinster supporters will chortle about “the drive for five” the old schoolers, those who were there in the Ruddock/Glennon or before that Glennon/Callan years, will be a little more circumspect.
Leinster hold the whip-hand in terms of recent results and as Tony McGahan acknowledged there is no arguing with the stats, no hiding from history, nor could Munster have any quibble whatsoever with the merit of those Leinster wins.
However, it's not something that will over exercise Munster minds according to captain Denis Leamy. “No, not really. Our work this week would have been done primarily on the Glasgow game and trying to put right what we did wrong.” he says.
“Obviously we'll have looked back on those Leinster games, but it's their recent stuff that is relevant to this game. They'll get no points for what they did last year. The points that are on offer are for this one.”
Nor does Leamy see Leinster as the injured duckling based on their results so far. “They've had a slow start. We've had them ourselves. But if you look at the best bits of how they've played in those games you can see their quality. They're a good side and I wouldn't expect there to be anything in it tomorrow.”
Leamy leads his side from the number 8 berth and will be opposed by Jamie Heaslip who is already being touted as the successor to Brian O'Driscoll as Ireland captain while Niall Ronan holds off the challenge from David Wallace for the number 7 vest.
Ronan has been in great form to date and with Wallace having just 60 mintes of rugby under his belt, the decision to go with the Drogheda man makes sense.
McGahan keeps faith with the backline who delivered the bonus point win in Firhill last weekend where Johne Murphy celebrated his return to the wing – after a stint in the centre – with two tries.
Munster: P Warwick; D Howlett, L Mafi, S Tuitupou, J Murphy; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; W du Preez, D Varley, J Hayes; D O'Callaghan, D Ryan; A Quinlan, N Ronan, D Leamy capt. Replacements: S Henry, M Horan, Darragh Hurley, M O'Driscoll, D Wallace, P Stringer, S Deasy, D Hurley.
Leinster: R Kearney; S Horgan, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton/I Nacewa, I Boss; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, N Hines, D Toner, D Ryan, S O’Brien, J Heaslip capt. Replacements: J Harris-Wright, H van der Merwe, S Shawe, M Galarza, R Ruddock, E Reddan, I Nacewa/I Madigan, F McFadden.