In Pool 1 Munster sit in third place and find themselves in a tight situation as they travel to Murrayfield on Sunday to take on bottom-placed Edinburgh.
Only three points separates leaders Saracens, Racing Metro and Munster in the Pool, but a win away at Edinburgh this weekend would set-up, provided Saracens beat Racing, a winner-takes-all encounter against Racing at Thomond Park next week.
It all seemed to be going rosy for Rob Penney and his band of red troops early on in Pool 1, despite narrowly losing 22-17 at Racing in their first outing. What followed was a 33-0 hammering of Edinburgh and an impressive 15-9 defeat of Saracens, both at home. Things looked to be back on track, at least for the time being.
However, Sarries squeezed the life out of Munster on the return trip to Vicarage Road and that defeat left the former champions and Penney pondering what might have been.
In team news Keith Earls returns in place of Casey Laulala in the backs. Declan Kilcoyne and Tommy O’Donnell missed the Vicarage game through illness but return for Sunday’s game and Declan Varely starts in place of Mike Sherry at hooker.
Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has made three changes to his team. Welsh international scrum-half Richie Rees returns to start, and joins captain for the game Greg Laidlaw for the half-back partnership.
Ben Cairns, the clubs top try scorer in the heineken Cup gets the nod to form a dynamic midfield partnership with fellow Scotland cap and former Currie player Matt Scott.
This could be Munster’s defining games of the season and it’s all or nothing going into these final two weeks of the Pool stages of the Heineken Cup.
Edinburgh were surprise semi-finalists last year but have been thoroughly disappointing this season. The Scottish side will want to out on a high at home but Munster have been saving their best players for this tie and will probably edge what could be a tight encounter.
(15-9) Greig Tonks; Dougie Fife, Ben Cairns, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN, Richie Rees;
(1-8) Allan Jacobsen, Steven Lawrie, Willem Nel; Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox; Stuart McInally, Dimitri Basilaia, David Denton.
(16-23) Andy Titterrell, Robin Hislop, Geoff Cross, Netani Talei, Roddy Grant, Piers Francis, Ben Atiga, Sep Visser.
(15-9)F Jones; D Howlett capt, K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; R O’Gara, C Murray;
(1-8) D Kilcoyne, D Varley,BJ Botha; D O’Callaghan, D Ryan; P O’Mahony, T O’Donnell, J Coughlan.
Replacements: M Sherry, W du Preez, S Archer, B Holland, P Butler, D Williams, I Keatley, C Laulala.