Munster look ready this year to shed 'nearly men' tag
Last year was very much a case of nearly, nearly for Munster.
There has been a lot of criticism thrown their way recently - mainly about their game-plan - but if you look at it clinically they made the last two European semi-finals and the Pro12 semi last year.
That's a great achievement. I think that speaks volumes about the guys and their attitude, and that's often more important than anything else.
There's a group of guys coming through together who are a close-knit bunch and it reminds me of when I came into the squad: we had a group of guys that brought each other on and set our own standards.
Munster want to be winning trophies, but this is still a very young squad and Axel has introduced a great back-room team: guys are embedded into the culture of the province and that local network is vital.
We'll get to see an early glimpse of what Munster are about when they play London Irish in Waterford tonight. It will be interesting to see how the whole occasion goes: I can't remember the last time a big game wasn't played at either Musgrave Park or Thomond.