O'Mahony: Tough task ahead
New Munster skipper Peter O'Mahony is determined to make this a season to remember as he takes charge of his native province.
O'Mahony was appointed captain during the summer as coach Rob Penney handed over the armband to the Cork youngster following on from the retirement of Dougie Howlett.
And with Munster heading into a campaign without the guiding hand of the retired Ronan O'Gara, O'Mahony admitted that they face a tough task in their bid for silverware.
But the new captain firmly believes that they have the talent at their disposal to challenge for glory and he has vowed to do everything in his power to lead that charge.
"We got to the Heineken Cup semi-finals last year and we might have been in a final.
"Just because ROG and Dougie are gone doesn't mean that the mentality of this club is going to change for a second," said O'Mahony.
"The Heineken Cup is where our bar is at and we want to win the Heineken Cup every year we go out.
"Certainly, we weren't happy with our Pro12 campaign last year and that is something that we're going to be much more focused on this year.
"But the Heineken Cup is the competition that we measure ourselves off every year and that will not be any different this time round," added the Munster skipper.
According to his head coach, O'Mahony was the obvious choice for the captaincy role, but Penney also confirmed this week that some of the team's other leaders will be back sooner than expected after their hectic summer schedules.
Penney described Donnacha Ryan as being "in tremendous shape," while Lions tourists Paul O'Connell, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo are also keen to return to the action.
"It'll be about round three to four for the guys that have been away with the Lions, but with the Irish guys, it's a lot more flexible around their commitments to us," said Penney.
"So, we'll be drip-feeding them. Some of them will potentially be available from round one and some may be a week or so later."