Lying sixth, seven points adrift of fourth-placed Scarlets, Munster must rely on others for a few favours in the last five matches.
It’s not where they would want to be but, according to Coughlan, Munster can now go from strength to strength.
“It [this week] is not a cup final, but we just have to take each game as it comes and make sure we are executing as much as we can in that game to make sure we are taking steps forward every week,” he said.
The Munster team shows a number of changes from the one held to a draw against the Ospreys last time out and a surprise starter will be scrum-half Cathal Sheridan who jumps in ahead of Duncan Williams. Conor Murray has been rested alongside fellow internationals Donnacha Ryan and Peter O’Mahony.
Sheridan’s selection comes in the wake of news that double Heineken Cup-winning scrum-half Peter Stringer is now unlikely to play for the province again after his agents brokered a deal for him to extend his stay in Bath.
Tomorrow’s game at Musgrave Park marks a competitive return for Paul O’Connell who starts alongside Donncha O’Callaghan.
The availability of Ronan O’Gara following his recent trauma at international level is another boost for Munster, the information from the camp being that the iconic out-half has been particularly influential in provincial training these last few weeks.
Connacht coach Eric Elwood finalises his side this afternoon.
MUNSTER: F Jones, D Howlett (captain), C Laulala, J Downey, D Hurley, R O’Gara, C Sheridan, D Kilcoyne, D Varley, S Archer, D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell, S Dougall, J Coughlan, T O’Donnell. Replacements: M Sherry, W du Preez, BJ Botha, B Holland, N ronan, d Williams, I Keatley, I Dinneen.