New Munster head coach Anthony Foley has a difficult path to negotiate in Pool 1 of the European Rugby Champions Cup, with the Reds facing home and away encounters with Saracens, Clermont Auvergne and Sale Sharks.
EUROPEAN RUGBY CHAMPIONS CUP - POOL 1:
The fact that of the four Pool 1 teams, three were semi-finalists in European rugby's premier competition for the last two seasons running, gives a good indication of the quality Munster will come up against in the first year of Champions Cup action.
Speaking after today's tournament draw which took place in Neuchatel, Switzerland, Anthony Foley described the entire pool as 'fearsome opposition'.
"We have picked up three of the best teams in Europe in our pool and looking at the rest of the tournament I think this is an even stronger draw than in previous years," said the province's incoming head coach.
"We have six massive games ahead of us and we will be looking forward to them all. I'm sure there are a few teams who won't be too happy about having Munster in their pool."
Always appreciative of the massive support Munster receive from their fans, Foley believes the '16th man' will have a big role to play both home and abroad in the Champions Cup.
"We have met all these teams before in Europe and I'm sure our fans will travel in big numbers to Manchester, London and Clermont. And if Saracens fancy taking our game to Wembley, then that will be fine with us.
"It's not a decision for us, but all the players love to play in big stadia and in big games. And all the games in our pool will be big games."
Munster born and bred, the 40-year-old is relishing the opportunity of leading his native province into this new era of European rugby and is well aware of the challenges that lie in his path.
"Having grown up at the province it is going to be a huge honour for me to coach the team next season. I certainly won't be underestimating the size of the task, but we have a good group of players who have been around for a while.
"We want to be playing in the big finals in last few weeks of May and to do that we are going to have to stop teams scoring easy points against us. We need to rectify that, especially when it comes to playing in the Champions Cup."
Munster were unbeaten in four Heineken Cup matches against Saracens before they lost 19-13 in a tight game at Vicarage Road in December 2012.
Of course, the Munstermen's past victories over Sarries include an 18-16 semi-final success in Coventry back in April 2008 on the way to collecting their second European crown.
Before that, the teams had met in four pool matches between November 2007 and December 2008 with Munster winning their home fixtures and picking up a losing bonus point on both visits to the Stade Marcel Michelin.
Munster Rugby and the IRFU can confirm that Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Rory Scannell, Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams and Darren Sweetnam have all signed contract extensions, while Chris Farrell, JJ Hanrahan and James Hart will join the province next season.
In an in-depth interview IRFU Performance Director speaks about Ireland's Rugby World Cup review and the key learnings, the structure of the professional game, player contracts and movement and the challenges and opportunities for Irish Rugby.
Looking forward to the new GUINNESS PRO12 season, Connacht captain John Muldoon said: "We've a lot of younger guys who have big years ahead of them and a few big name signings who will hopefully be able to fit into the system and work hard among the ethos of Connacht Rugby."
Irish Rugby TV was at the launch of the GUINNESS PRO12 and we caught up with Jamie Heaslip, Pat Lam, John Muldoon, Matt O'Connor and Rory Sheridan of Diageo as the new sponsor gets ready to kick off an exciting season.
Out-half Dan Parks had a vital role in Connacht's historic Heineken Cup triumph in Toulouse, kicking two penalties, a drop goal and the touchline conversion of Kieran Marmion's try. He spoke to Rob Murphy after the game.
Rob Murphy caught up with Gavin Duffy after Connacht's inspirational defeat of Toulouse in the Heineken Cup, with the Mayo man giving an insight into how they produced such a high quality performance against the French giants.
Young scrum half Kieran Marmion was one of Connacht's star performers in their famous 16-14 Heineken Cup victory away to Toulouse, scoring a crucial second half try and picking up the man-of-the-match award.
Giving his reaction after Connacht's historic 16-14 win away to Toulouse, head coach Pat Lam said: "The belief's been there, we knew that this performance was not far away. To come here in a massive game with the side they put out is an unbelievable effort (from us) and I'm so proud of the guys."
Fergus McFadden, who helped to launch the Ulster Bank League awards in Dublin, spoke afterwards about his recovery from a fractured hand, previewed Leinster's back-to-back games against Northampton Saints and reflected on his involvement in the GUINNESS Series with Ireland.
Out-half Craig Ronaldson, who has made a successful transition from Ulster Bank League rugby with Lansdowne to a professional contract with Connacht, talks about the step up to this level of rugby, the importance of the league in providing game-time and a shop window for players and he also previews the province's back-to-back clashes with Toulouse.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam was proud of the performance his players produced in their 23-17 Heineken Cup defeat to Saracens, but he was left frustrated by some of referee Pascal Gauzere's decisions in a tight second half.
The Irish launch of the 2013/14 Heineken Cup took place in Dublin last week and Irish Rugby TV caught up with Sky Sports commentator Stuart Barnes to chat about his favourite Heineken Cup memories and get his thoughts on this season's tournament.