Clermont Auverge's French Test right wing Julien Malzieu declaring "Munster are one of the best teams in the world."
Reigning Heineken Cup champions Munster ended up qualifying for the knock-out stages last season courtesy of the losing bonus point they pocketed at ASM Clermont Auvergne - and on Sunday they return to the scene of their 26-19 defeat with current French Test right wing Julien Malzieu declaring "Munster are one of the best teams in the world."
The two clubs have their quick-fire return with Malzieu adding: "We have big back-to-back clashes against Munster and we know these are going to be really hard matches.
"As reigning European champions we expect them to be tough to beat but played them twice and we won the second leg at home so that is most encouraging and we could say that Sunday's game is ours for the taking.
"We went close to quarter-final qualification last season and we could and should have got out of that pool of death so hopefully it'll come true this season. We made a faux pas against Sale in Round 1 so, if we want to qualify, we'll have to give everything to win our remaining games and we know we can't afford to make any mistakes.
"When we heard that we would be in the same Pool as Munster again my first reaction was very positive, I was happy at the prospect of facing such a great team again.
"It may or may not help to have played them last year because each season is different, but at least the level of rugby will be superb and that's what I was looking for when I started to play rugby. I want to play the best teams in the world and Munster are currently one of them.
"All we ask for is to play exciting games - and I think we are in for a great one.
"Our objective has to be to win all the games left in the Pool phase but we will try to approach the game against Munster without too much stress.
"We certainly want to qualify for the quarters but we will take one game at a time and, as we play them first at home, we may stand a better chance and we'll take it from there.
"Last year I was very impressed to be competing against legends like Doug Howlett as I used to watch him on TV when I was younger and then there I was on the field with him - it is simply awesome.
"Obviously the Munster half backs are always dangerous, and their international experience is phenomenal so of course they have to be watched, but the whole team usually has very good strategies and game plans - they excel in that area and always manage to impose their game.
"And the Heineken Cup is another competition altogether. The commitment and efforts are intense while most of the time it is also a faster game. Even though the level of competition in the Top 14 can be high and very exciting, there is that familiarity in the encounters.
"The European tournament is a refreshing change from the domestic championship and It is rewarding to be part of such a great level of top flight rugby.
"Because it is on a different planet, you play against the best players in the world and it gives you wings. I would never think that one day I would meet players like Luke McAlister, Sebastien Chabal, Ronan O'Gara or Peter Stringer - to name but a few.
"I've just come back from the autumn internationals with France, and it was extremely gratifying to have been selected by my country again, but now I need to handle coming back to Clermont and getting into the club mode very quickly."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.