Connacht travel to Thomond Park this weekend searching for their first win over Munster since 1986. It will be a tough task especially as Munster ran nine tries past the westerners in last season's two clashes.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Sunday, December 3
MUNSTER v CONNACHT, Thomond Park, 5pm
**IrishRugby.ie will be running a live match tracker from Limerick**
Team News: Former All Black Christian Cullen has been listed in a 27-man Munster squad for this weekend's visit of Connacht to Thomond Park. Cullen has been sidelined since damaging his shoulder in September's league win over Ulster.
Prop Marcus Horan (calf) is the only player from Munster's Ireland contingent who is missing from the squad, after the Guinness Autumn Series. Coach Declan Kidney is expected to confirm his starting XV and replacements on Friday.
Connacht coach Michael Bradley, meanwhile, will announce his extended squad for the derby clash on Friday, with prop Stephen Knoop to undergo a late fitness test. Connacht's top try scorer Matt Mostyn is definitely out after breaking a bone in his ankle, against Cardiff two weeks ago. The former Irish international is looking at a lay-off of between ten and twelve weeks.
Bradley will make his team announcement on Saturday morning.
Munster Squad: Forwards (14) - Federico Pucciariello, Darragh Hurley, John Hayes, Frankie Sheahan, Frankie Roche, Andy Kyriacou, Mick O'Driscoll, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Alan Quinlan, John O'Sullivan, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Tim McGann.
Backs (13) - Shaun Payne, Christian Cullen, Anthony Horgan, John Kelly, Barry Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Trevor Halstead, Ian Dowling, Jeremy Manning, Eoghan Hickey, Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer, Tomas O'Leary.
Connacht Squad: to be confirmed
Referee: Donal Courtney (Ireland)
Touch Judges: Colin Stanley, Dudley Phillips (both Ireland)
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS:
August 2001 - Munster 40 Connacht 19, Thomond Park
November 2002 - Quarter-Final - Munster 33 Connacht 3, Musgrave Park
January 2004 - Connacht 0 Munster 3, Dubarry Park
May 2004 - Munster 39 Connacht 10, Thomond Park
September 2004 - Munster 27 Connacht 27, Musgrave Park
December 2004 - Connacht 0 Munster 3, The Sportsground
October 2005 - Connacht 19 Munster 44, The Sportsground
December 2005 - Munster 36 Connacht 17, Thomond Park
- Last Saturday saw Munster end their three-match losing run in the Magners League with a 25-20 victory over the Ospreys. Munster have won seven of their last eight home games in all competitions
- Connacht's only victory in their last nine games in all competitions was their 16-9 success over Newport Gwent Dragons in October. Connacht's last four away wins in the league, since November 2004, have all been in Scotland, whilst their only 'away' win in Ireland in the competition came against Leinster in September 2000
- Connacht have not beaten Munster in 25 clashes since an 11-9 triumph in Limerick in the Interprovincial championship in November 1986
- Jeremy Manning's haul of 20 points against the Ospreys last Saturday has pushed him up to seventh in the list of the Magners League's top scorers. Manning is currently on 55 points (2 conversions, 15 penalties and 2 drop goals), while Ireland's Ronan O'Gara, who is set to resume at out-half for Munster this weekend, has notched 21 points (3 conversions and 5 penalties) in three games so far
- Connacht's top points scorer is Mark McHugh, who is second to David Humphreys in the top scorers' list. McHugh has tallied up 88 points (1 try, 7 conversions, 21 penalties and 2 drop goals) in eight starts, while Paul Warwick is sitting on 31 points (2 tries, 3 conversions, 4 penalties and 1 drop goal)
- Both O'Gara and McHugh boast an 80% kicking success rate in the league this season. O'Gara has landed eight of his ten kicks at goal, while McHugh, who was on the Ireland 'A' bench recently, has been successful with 28 of his 35 shots at goal, including his last three
- Connacht's top try scorer Matt Mostyn (four tries in nine league appearances) is an absentee this weekend due to a broken bone in his ankle. Flanker David Wallace (two) leads the try-scoring stakes for Munster