United Rugby Championship: Munster v Glasgow Warriors, Thomond Park, Saturday kick-off 5.15pm (live on RTE 2)
Forwards coach Andi Kyriacou said the Munster management are hoping they are timing their run to perfection as they head into the business end of the season looking for glory on two fronts.
Munster have not won anything since lifting the league title back in 2011 but after a shaky start under the new coaching team headed up by Graham Rowntree they have really hit form since that memorable win over South Africa XV in Páirc Uí Chaoimh back in November.
That win over the Springbok selection came after successive defeats to Leinster and Ulster but since then they have won nine out of a dozen games.
“The game-plan has become settled for the lads and we were very fortunate during the Six Nations period that we got those down weeks to recover after a lot of back-to-back matches,” said former hooker Kyriacou.
“There were training weeks where there were no games and we could really dive into some detail and ramp the lads up in terms of their on field content and lead into those two or three fixtures we had in that Six Nations period.
“It has put us in a good spot but as we are all aware the tough games are really ahead of us now.”
They are getting a lot of players back from injury – RG Snyman is on the bench for the second game in a row – but there is concern about a “low-grade leg injury” which keeps in-form centre Antoine Frisch out of the Saturday afternoon (5.15) clash with Glasgow.
Mike Haley has recovered from an ankle injury and starts at fullback instead of Patrick Campbell, while Jack Crowley is back from Irish camp and slots in for Frisch.
Munster’s third change is up front with another player returning from the Six Nations, Dave Kilcoyne takes over from Josh Wycherley.
[ Munster weighing up hectic schedule as they look to compete across competitions and hemispheres ]
After Saturday, Munster’s remaining two URC games before the knockout stage are in South Africa against the Sharks – who they play next week in the Champions Cup in Durban – and the Stormers, so they will want to make this final home game of the regular campaign count.
Munster go into this weekend two points behind Glasgow as the battle for home quarterfinals really intensifies.
Munster have stuck with Joey Carbery and Paddy Patterson as the halfback partnership for the fourth game in a row, with Craig Casey covering scrumhalf.
Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray are on a down week after their Six Nations exploits but Glasgow Warriors are coming fully loaded with head coach Franco Smith bringing nine of the Scottish squad to Limerick for a fixture which Munster have won 21 times, lost 14 and there has been one draw, but Glasgow have triumphed just twice in nine clashes at Thomond Park.
MUNSTER: M Haley; C Nash, M Fekitoa, J Crowley, S Daly; J Carbery, P Patterson; D Kilcoyne, D Barron, R Salanoa; J Kleyn, F Wycherley; J O’Donoghue (cap), J Hodnett, G Coombes. Replacements: S Buckley, J Wycherley, S Archer, RG Snyman, A Kendellen, C Casey, R Scannell, S Zebo.
GLASGOW: O Smith; C Forbes, S McDowall – captain, S Johnson, J Dobie; D Miotti, A Price; N McBeth, F Brown, Z Fagerson; JP du Preez, S Cummings; M Fagerson, R Darge, S Vailanu.
Replacements: J Matthews, A Dell, L Sordoni, L Bean, A Samuel, T Gordon, G Horne, T Jordan.
Referee: A Piarda (Italy).