MUNSTER will look to hit Edinburgh for six at Musgrave Park this Saturday evening as Rob Penney’s men big to get their RaboDirect PRO12 off to the best possible start. Last season’s sixth-place finish was Munster’s worst in the PRO12 since 2007 and only the third time since the advent of the Celtic League that the two-time Heineken Cup champions were outside the top four.
If Munster are looking for any encouragement ahead of their clash with Edinburgh, then Penney’s men are sure to take some from the fact they have won their five most recent clashes with the Scottish side.
Munster start competitive life without two familiar faces this weekend, Ronan O’Gara and Doug Howlett.
Munster will be captained this year by abrasive back-row forward, Peter O’Mahony.
Twenty three-year-old O’Mahony said: “It’s coming together well, it’s Rob Penney’s second season now.
“We’ve got a couple of good building blocks set from last year, very good performances from the end of last season.
“It’s exciting, very positive and I think everyone’s looking forward.
“I think we had a couple of teething problems (last season) particularly in the middle of the Rabo and the games that we would have won a couple of years ago we were on the wrong side of which was disappointing.
“And that’s something we’ll definitely be concentrating on this year to improve, get a bit more consistency.
“We weren’t happy with the way it went and we weren’t happy with where we finished in the table, so we’ll be looking to improve there big time this year.
“That was unfortunate. We had a decent start, it was just that middle bit.
“Just games where Munster normally kick on, win by a point or two, we ended up on the wrong side of which was the disappointing thing. We’ll have to address it this year.
“I do (think the squad is stronger). We have a couple of great athletes with huge ambition. They’ll all be looking to get a starting place to make it theirs.”
Winger Andrew Conway who sustained a ‘dead’ leg against Gloucester and centre James Downey, who continues to rehab his quad tear, will miss Saturday’s clash with Edinburgh.
Felix Jones (shoulder) and Luke O’Dea (wrist) continue with their rehabilitation, while Lions Conor Murray, Paul O’Connell and Simon Zebo continue their pre-season training and will miss the opening few rounds of the PRO12.
Match tickets are on sale from the Munster Rugby ticket offices in Thomond Park and Musgrave Park each day from 10am to 4pm and on match-day from 10am outside the Dolphin gates and from 5.45pm via the Sunday’s Well entrance to Musgrave Park.
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