Tony McGahan insists Munster are ready to seize their Heineken Cup opportunity at Thomond Park on Sunday.
The two-time kings of Europe return to the Heineken Cup knockout stages following last year's disastrous campaign, in which they failed to reach the last eight for the first time in thirteen seasons.
But they face Ulster tomorrow and McGahan reckons his side are better for the painful experience.
"We understand the importance of this game," said McGahan. "We certainly don't take it for granted and we never did.
"But I think last year's events have given us a real appreciation for how important and how difficult it is to get back to this stage each year."
Munster go in to the clash following a PRO12 loss to reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster. McGahan admits the result was disappointing but he remains confident that Munster have the firepower and set-piece to reach the next stage.
"The foundations are there and if you look at our ERC pool games when this group was last together over 10 weeks ago, we had some strong formations and the set-piece was part of that," added McGahan.
"We think this week, with this being our first time back together, the opportunity to go back to that will present itself."
But the head coach, who will leave Munster at the end of the season, expects noting to come easy against Ulster, who he reckons are a growing force in Europe.
"We have been immensely impressed with the direction they have taken, especially from where they were a couple of years ago.
"When you look at where they are at this point and see where they have come from and the build up from last year. The commentary this week from their senior players has alluded to that. They are not happy with just making the quarter-finals, they really see this as an opportunity to work their way further.
"Brian [McLaughlin] and his coaching staff and certainly David Humphreys at the top of that tree have done a fantastic job at gathering the players, giving the confidence, support and coaching to contribute to what is a really strong package.
"The South African imports bring a real confidence to their play, a real hardness and doggedness to their play and a real unshakeable belief.
"When you add your Ferrises and your Paddy Wallaces and Rory Bests and these quality international players to that mix.
You suddenly are ballooning that experience and hardness up to about 10 players. "When you put some of the guys in with nice experience you are getting a real quality XV and that is what they possess at this point in time."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.