No club side in the international game carries more of a mystique than that of Irish giants Munster.
The two-time European Champions have for sat at the top table of European Sides for well over twenty years.
Despite a number of lean years where they have seen their closest rival Leinster leapfrog them as the number one side on the Emerald Isle, they have punched well above their weight without quite closing any tournament wins.
Long gone are the days of O’Gara, O’Connell, O’Callaghan and Stringer with the generation of Murray, O’Mahony, Zebo and Earls perhaps having their best performances in the green of Ireland more often than the red of Munster.
Despite all of this, the Munster brand remains that of folklore the world over. Having defeated the All Blacks long before the national team whilst putting the Wallabies to the sword on three occasions, few sides can claim the scalps of southern province.
Last night’s clash with the South African Select XV side was an occasion that harked back to the glory days of Munster Rugby.
Taking on their much-fancied opponent, Graham Rowntree’s side were simply sublime.
Playing an exciting, devil-may-care brand of Rugby spearheaded by several of their new generation of players, Munster outclassed their South African visitors.
Keeping in line with the theme of the two countries respective national sides, Munster had far more in their armoury than the bruising South Africans.
Undoubtedly South. African teams will always revert to their physicality as Plan A. The issue for the Select XV was that when they couldn’t get on top of their hosts, they simply looked lost.
Whilst the difference between the two national sides is minimal, the difference in styles and playing ambitions is vast.
Returning to Munster, names such as Edogbo, Healy, Coombes will join their Irish international colleagues Casey, Crowley and Loughman in driving this new generation of Munster players forward.
What was a bleak picture towards the end of last season and throughout the opening rounds of this season now appears vastly different.
Are Munster a threat for Heineken Champions Cup glory this season? Unlikely but this group has the potential to achieve those heights in the coming years.