It might look on first glance like a team packed with experience, international players and the league’s top try scorer, but based on the current Edinburgh team that has played in the Heineken, this has a slightly B-Team look to it. I wouldn’t worry too much though, as so does the Munster team.
Oh, and it’s actually Tim’s little brother filling that shirt on the wing labelled “Visser”.
Chris Paterson and Phil Godman return to the side, with Godman now probably well down the pecking order of standoffs behind Leonard and Laidlaw, and possibly Hunter who I haven’t seen any of yet. He does appear in the utility slot on the bench which suggests he may be preferred somewhere outside of fly-half. Either that or they are expecting it to be attritional for 10s, with Laidlaw and Leonard also named on the bench (that’s 4, count ’em. 5 if you count Mossy).
Mossy’s return leads to a reshuffle of the outside backs too with Thompson slotting in at 13 to accommodate the second Flying Dutchman, Tim’s little brother Sepp earning his first start on the wing opposite Tom Brown. I wouldn’t like Visser Snr to become overplayed, but when his try scoring rate is as prodigious as it is currently, he must be a hard man for a coach to rest so it’s a rare chance for someone else to have a go.
The big boys in the front row are all rested too with an entirely new front row and bench unit in place and Steven Lawrie captaining the side from hooker. The back row looks a useful blend though, with McInally and Talei starting the season well and Rennie looking to hit some form ahead of the spring.
Edinburgh have a definite chance as their new faces are not quite as unknown as the Munster team – which has been shorn of the international class now mostly reserved for the Heineken Cup. Old stager Mick O’Driscoll leads the side whilst we can hope that A.D’s favourite player Donnacha O’Callaghan will cough up the odd kickable penalty for one of our deadeye kickers.
The matchup at 9 could be interesting, with Blair playing pretty well, and both he and O’Leary currently fighting to retain international legitimacy in their positions.
If it turns into one of Edinburgh’s preferred sevens-style scrapfests – which Munster are unlikely to enjoy much without Earls or Howlett on the park – Bradley could empty the bench and get an unlikely boost up the table. You can bet if Edinburgh do look like sneaking a win, the cavalry in the form of Laidlaw, Lozada and Grant will be sent on to try and finish it off, but even this Munster side at home should have the edge, mostly on experience in the pack.
Munster: D Hurley; L O’Dea, W Chambers, D Barnes, S Zebo; I Keatley, T O’Leary; M Horan, D Fogarty, S Archer; D O’Callaghan, M O’Driscoll (capt); B Holland, T O’Donnell, P Butler.
Replacements: S Henry, J Ryan, J Hayes, I Nagle, J Coughlan, D Williams, T Gleeson, S Deasy.
Edinburgh: C Paterson, S Visser, J Thompson, J King, T Brown, P Godman, M Blair, K Traynor, S Lawrie (capt), J Gilding, S Cox, S Turnbull, N Talei, R Rennie, S McInally
Replacements: A Kelly, R Hislop, L Niven, E Lozada, R Grant, G Laidlaw, H Leonard, G Hunter.
Live on BBC Alba and TG4 in Ireland, Saturday 26th November, k.o 8.30pm GMT