THERE isn't much that Ben Daly hasn't done in a pretty varied rugby career, but Friday night he really does break new ground.

The Newport Gwent Dragons hooker packs down against the mighty men of Munster for the first time at Rodney Parade - and he's really looking forward to it.

Daly hails from Australia where he was brought up, and he still retains the Aussie accent though he has been playing in Europe for the past five years.

His parents are Scottish originally while he has played in Australia for Sydney University, in Scotland for Glasgow, in England for Worcester, in Italy for Viadana and is now settled in Wales playing for the Dragons.

He's actually a rare breed for Rodney Parade imports over the past decade, for he lives in the city rather than in Cardiff where so many set up temporary home, and he enjoys it.

"I like Wales and Newport," he said. "People seem surprised by that, but I'm really enjoying it, I love it here, they are a nice bunch of players and the set-up is good.

"People have romantic images about living in Italy and swanning around Lake Garda, but in reality it's nothing like that."

Daly has taken advantage of the absence of Steve Jones, who has been out all season after a shoulder operation, to make the Dragons hooking berth his own.

He has missed only one of the Dragons' 16 games since joining from Viadana, and that because of a biceps injury when he couldn't make the European Challenge Cup-tie in Bucharest.

He has started 11 matches and is now set for his biggest - against the Heineken Cup winners.

"When you win that competition you can claim to be the best in Europe, maybe the best in the world, so it's going to be a pretty big challenge," he said.

"But every team in this competition (the Magners League) has a pack loaded with internationals and Munster are no exception. But we are enjoying matching up with all the packs both individually and collectively.

"It is easier, though, as a forward pack to gain parity because of the physical nature of the game whereas the backs are based more on skill. But we do have to be more consistent."

Five points from the Dragons' two holiday matches against Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys (the Llanelli Scarlets game was called off because of fog) represents a pretty fair return, admits Daly after the victory over the Blues and losing bonus point at the Liberty Stadium.

"The Scarlets result would have been interesting after what we did in the other two matches," added Daly, "but we're reasonably happy with what we came out with."

Now the globetrotting Daly goes happily into the big three - Munster followed by Bristol and Bayonne in the European Challenge Cup. One thing for sure - he'll come out smiling at the other end.