Munster prop James Cronin has said Connacht centres Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki are "as good a partnership that's in Ireland" ahead of the top-of-the-table Pro12 clash in Thomond Park on Saturday evening (5.15pm).

Connacht have been the unlikely pace-setters in the division and are on the hunt for a first win at Thomond since 1986. 

Ian Keatley, who spent three years with the Westerners before moving to Munster in 2011, has already talked up the desire of the camp to leapfrog Pat Lam's men in the table, and Cronin is prepared for a mammoth battle.

“If you look through the Connacht team they have a lot of internationals, a lot of very, very good players," he said. 

"The centre partenership of Henshaw and Bundee Aki - they're as good a partnership that's in Ireland. We know we’ll have our hands full on Saturday but we’ll try our best to contain them.

Munster come into the game fresh as their Champions Cup match against Stade Francais was postponed last weekend, while Connacht overcame Brive in the Challenge Cup.

However Cronin believes form counts for little in provincial derbies, and is braced for a blood-and-thunder collision.

"Derbies always are intense. If Connacht are going good, bad or indifferent they always show up against Munster, Leinster and Ulster - that's a given. We don't expect any different off them."