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Where: Thomond Park
When: 12.45 (GMT)
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Head coach Rob Penney believes Edinburgh are now an even greater threat than when they defeated his Munster team in the opening round of the Heineken Cup.
Matt Scott and Tim Visser scored the tries that secured a 29-23 victory in Alan Solomons’ first Heineken Cup in charge of the Scottish club. That proved a spark for Edinburgh’s season, following a poor start, and paved the way for European wins over Gloucester and Perpignan to leave Munster coach Penney warning his players to take nothing for granted at Thomond Park.
Two-time champions Munster have already claimed top spot in Pool 6 but they would love a bonus-point victory to give them the best chance of earning a home quarter-final draw.
“Edinburgh are certainly a different bunch than they were four months ago,” said Penney. “They’ve developed a unity and a toughness that makes them very tough for teams to play against. We’ve seen Leinster go down to them, Perpignan, Gloucester away. They should have beaten Glasgow.
“They’re now a legitimate side. Over the last couple of years they may not have been seen as a big threat, although they did reach the semi-finals two years ago in the Heineken. They’ve got a little recipe going on there.
“They’ve developed something that’s starting to become a bit special. It’s a bit nerve-wracking when you’re seeing it unfolding and from this perspective we could probably do without that now.”
Munster will be without Donnacha Ryan through injury but Simon Zebo has been handed another week to force his way into Ireland’s Six Nations squad. And in Keith Earls, the Munstermen possess one of the most effective attackers in this season’s tournament.
However if anyone can stop the fleet-footed Earls, who has already made 320 metres, it is Edinburgh, who have hopes of progressing to the Amlin Challenge Cup as pool runners-up and weren’t out of the Heineken Cup running at the start of the round, either.
They are the most efficient defence and in Cornell Du Preez, Grant Gilchrist and Roddy Grant have three of the leading tacklers in the competition.
Uncapped wing Dougie Fife was this week called up to Scotland’s Six Nations training squad but said: “My first thought when I got the call was that we have a big game against Munster this weekend – we still have a chance to qualify in Europe and I need to keep the focus on that.”