Peter O'Mahony calls for more consistency as new signings set for debuts
Munster captain Peter O'Mahony will miss his side's opening month of Guinness Pro12 action - but his demanding presence on the training ground will ensure that none of his team-mates go missing either.
And while he resolutely defends Munster's commitment to the league in recent years despite an occasional fitful approach to some of its games, the 24-year-old will be demanding greater consistency from his side this term.
"I think more guys have to prove themselves," he says ahead of tomorrow night's friendly against London Irish in Waterford RSC. "You're not going to get selected to make up numbers. You need to get selected for performances and consistency of performances."
O'Mahony will return from a double shoulder reconstruction next month and is convinced he will do refreshed as he faces into a momentous season for club and country.
"I missed a bit of rugby last season and I'll miss a little bit at the start of this one," he explains.
"But I'll get a great pre-season in and long-term-wise, especially with the season that's in it, having a 15-week, 16-week pre-season will be invaluable."
Meanwhile new signings Robin Copeland and Australian centre Andrew Smith will make their first appearance for the province tomorrow.
Emerging Ireland stars Billy Holland, Sean Dougall and Johne Murphy also return for their seasonal bows while Stephen Archer features in his first match-day squad since sustaining a neck injury in March. In the second-row Holland starts alongside captain Donncha O'Callaghan.
Copeland starts at No 8, allowing CJ Stander to switch to blindside. Cian Bohane, a try scorer in the heavy defeat to Gloucester last weekend, moves to inside centre with Australian Smith making his first start for Munster outside the youngster.
Darren Sweetnam and Ronan O'Mahony retain their places on the wings with Johne Murphy named at full-back for the final pre-season friendly.