18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Munster: Shaun Payne; Kieran Lewis, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling; Ronan O'Gara (capt), Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O'Callaghan, Mick O'Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.
Replacements: Frankie Sheahan, Tony Buckley, Anthony Foley, Niall Ronan, Gerry Hurley, Paul Warwick, Barry Murphy.
Leinster: Rob Kearney; Shane Horgan, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Gordon D'Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Felipe Contepomi, Cillian Willis; Ollie Le Roux, Bernard Jackman, Stan Wright, Leo Cullen, Malcolm O'Kelly, Stephen Keogh, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Brian Blaney, Cian Healy, Cameron Jowitt, Keith Gleeson, Chris Keane, Jonathan Sexton, Gary Brown.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Coach Speak: Declan Kidney (Munster) - "Munster-Leinster games are always great occasions, you only have to look at the demand for tickets over the past few weeks to know that. Certainly the interest in this game seems to be right up there with anything we've experienced in the past.
"As for the game itself, I think its going to be a great contest. Leinster are one of the top sides not alone in Ireland but in Europe so we'd have a lot of respect for them. There'll be a great atmosphere and it's days like these make this job so enjoyable."
Michael Cheika (Leinster) - "Our away form has improved this year and that was an area that we were keen to improve on. We know how difficult it is to win on the road and Friday will be a big, big challenge. We've got to keep our heads against a Munster side who are bang in form by the looks of things.
"We know Niall (Ronan) and Kieran Lewis well and I'm sure they're both excited by the chance to play against Leinster.
"Munster have experience right throughout their team and I have been particularly impressed by the two centres - Rua Tipoki and (Lifeimi) Mafi. I've seen a fair bit of Tipoki and he has a brilliant sidestep and is a real threat. He looks to have settled into the Munster culture really well and they're both sure to test our defence."
Top Scorers: 2007/08 Magners League - Points: Munster: Paul Warwick 60; Leinster: Jonathan Sexton 59; Tries: Munster: Paul Warwick 2; Leinster: Gordon D'Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald 3 each.
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS:
December 15, 2001: Celtic League final - Munster 20 Leinster 24, Lansdowne Road
September 5, 2003: Leinster 8 Munster 15, Donnybrook
February 13, 2004: Munster 24 Leinster 13, Musgrave Park
September 18, 2004: Leinster 17 Munster 15, Donnybrook
January 1, 2005: Munster 19 Leinster 13, Musgrave Park
October 9, 2005: Munster 33 Leinster 9, Musgrave Park
December 31, 2005: Leinster 35 Munster 23, RDS
October 6, 2006: Leinster 27 Munster 20, Lansdowne Road
December 27, 2006: Munster 25 Leinster 11, Thomond Park
- Munster have lost only one of their last five encounters - they were beaten 24-23 by Wasps in Coventry in the Heineken Cup on November 10. Munster have won their last four matches against their fellow Irish provinces, while they have not lost at home to an Irish side since Ulster visited Musgrave Park on December 3, 2005
- Leinster have also lost just one of their last five matches - they lost 33-6 at Toulouse in the Heineken Cup on November 18
- Leinster's only defeat to an Irish team in their last eight such encounters was a 25-11 loss to Munster at Thomond Park in the Magners League on December 27, 2006
- Leinster have not won on Munster soil since a 24-18 victory at Dooradoyle in Limerick in the Interprovincial championship on August 21, 1998, while Leinster's last win at Musgrave Park was way back in November 1985