We're ready to produce great display – Penney
Munster are heading into the six-week period which will define their season, and both coach Rob Penney and captain Peter O'Mahony are confident they have the ability to deliver the goods.
Successive weekend winning raids in Wales means Munster go into the crucial back-to-back Heineken Cup games as leaders of the RaboDirect Pro12.
And while Heineken Cup action will dominate the next weekends and, hopefully, the mid-January games, the Reds will also face a few crucial Pro12 games over this vital six-week period. However, both Penney and O'Mahony have warned of the dangers of looking too far ahead.
"Just one step at a time," cautioned Penney. "We're just focusing on our performance on Sunday at Thomond Park, on putting in a great performance and hopefully getting the result on the back of that."
O'Mahony said that these games need to be taken in perspective.
He has just returned from the autumn internationals and has scarcely had time to catch his breath, something he put into context when asked if he had thought about what he wished for in the other Pool 6 games over the next two weekends between Gloucester and Edinburgh.
"I haven't (thought about). Personally, coming back from camp, it was all about me getting right, getting back into the calls, getting myself right detail-wise, so I haven't thought about it," said the back-row.
Coach Penney said that Munster, especially with some players away on international duty, had given themselves a positive platform going into the Perpignan matches with those wins in Wales over Cardiff and the Dragons.
"You're always going to be challenged coming to both Cardiff and the Dragons and I'm so proud of our lads for working their way into positions to take points out of both games and coming away from that six-day period with nine points. It was a terrific reward for the guys, who have put in a lot of effort," he said.
Over the next two weekends Munster will look to remain in contention when the final pair of Heineken Cup pool matches come around in January away to Gloucester and then at home to Edinburgh.
In between there will be key Pro12 games at home to Scarlets and Irish derbies against Connacht and Ulster, ensuring that the next six weeks will be the most crucial period of the season for the Munster squad, management and supporters.