10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Munster haven't lost a competitive game here in Thomond since 1995 and since then the scalps taken have included the best European sides including, Saracens, Harlequins, Llanelli, Cardiff, Stade Francais, Biarritz, Perpignan and so on and so on.
But now they face without doubt doubt their stiffest task, a Gloucester side riddled with power and class. A Gloucester side who know that even if they lose they will still make the quarter-finals.
Consider this. Marcel Garvey misses out through injury. His replacement can be either of two internationals, Tom Beim or James Simpson-Daniel. Not bad.
For their part Munster retain the same starting line-up they had in France with the walking wounded patched up and pressed back into action after their bruising encounter with Perpignan. They looked a little jaded by the time the final whistle sounded at the Stade Aime Giral last weekend and their problem now is that their squad is so so decimated by injury that coach Alan Gaffney has no opportunity to give weary biodies any respite.
His squad must dress themselves up to face a Gloucester outfit, already short-listed as competition winners, a side who have already doused Munster, a side determined to end Munster's proud, and unique home record.
To stop them, Munster must pin their backs to the wall and stand up and fight.