4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS (11th) v MUNSTER (6th), Rodney Parade, 7pm
Team News: Only three of the players who started against Leinster last weekend remain in the Munster starting line-up for the RaboDirect PRO12 trip to Rodney Parade on Friday.
The trio are Denis Hurley, Ian Keatley and Damien Varley who are included in a side comprised mostly of players that lined out in the British & Irish Cup quarter-final win over Cornish Pirates a fortnight ago.
With their interest in the RaboDirect PRO12 understandably superceded by involvement in the Heineken Cup semi-final, the province's head coach Rob Penney has rested most of his frontliners.
Academy player Ronan O'Mahony will make his league debut on Friday night, while his Academy colleague Cian Bohane, named among the replacements, is also in line for his first Munster senior cap.
Marcus Horan, Munster's most-capped forward who recently confirmed he will retire at the end of the season, is included on the bench.
Meanwhile, Dragons lock Andrew Coombs will lead the Welsh region as they take on Heineken semi-finalists Munster in round 21 of the RaboDirect PRO12.
This will be the first time Coombs will captain the side at the home of the Dragons this season after wearing the armband for the double header match against the Scarlets and also last weekend's clash with Ulster at Ravenhill.
Dragons back rower and Lions hopeful Dan Lydiate will step out on the Rodney Parade pitch for the final time as he starts for the region against Munster alongside fellow Welsh star Toby Faletau.
There will also be a chance for the home fans to say farewell to legendary hooker Steve Jones following the announcement of his retirement due to a hip injury. The former Wales international is the most-capped player for the Dragons, having appeared 180 times for the men of Gwent.
NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS: Tom Prydie; Matthew Pewtner, Ross Wardle, Lewis Robling, Tonderai Chavhanga; Steffan Jones; Jon Evans; Aaron Coundley, Hugh Gustafson, Nathan Buck, Andrew Coombs (capt), Rob Sidoli, Dan Lydiate, Nic Cudd, Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Sam Parry, Owen Evans, Tim Ryan, Adam Jones, Jevon Groves, Ieuan Jones, Wayne Evans, Andy Tuilagi.
MUNSTER: Denis Hurley; Ronan O'Mahony, Ivan Dineen, JJ Hanrahan, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Cathal Sheridan; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Stephen Archer, David Foley, Billy Holland, David O'Callaghan, Niall Ronan, Paddy Butler.
Replacements: Sean Henry, Marcus Horan, John Ryan, Ian Nagle, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, Cian Bohane, Danny Barnes.
Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy, Neil Perkins (both Wales)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Newport Gwent Dragons to win: 4/5; Draw: 20/1; Munster to win: Evens
Pre-Match Quotes: Denis Hurley (Munster) - "We have put to bed the disappointment of losing against Leinster last week. Of paramount importance is getting Munster back into the black with victory tonight over the Dragons.
"The response (to the Heineken Cup success) around the whole squad and the province of Munster has been massive. It has given a lot of players that push and that urge to really want to perform.
"That is really what we will be using. The following week (the semi-final against Clermont Auvergne) will look after itself. We have an eight-day turnaround before the semi-final. That will give the bodies a chance to rest up a little."
Rob Sidoli (Newport Gwent Dragons) - "I am sure Munster will be looking to do a bit of tweaking ahead of their big European game. But they are a strong side even when they make changes and we will have to be on top of our game.
"They are a balanced side with a tough pack and frightening backs, so we need to be on it from 1 to 23.
"It's going to be an emotional night with some of the boys playing their last game at Rodney Parade and we want to make it a special evening for them."
Top Scorers - 2012/13 RaboDirect PRO12: Newport Gwent Dragons - Points: Tom Prydie 139; Tries: Dan Evans 6; Munster - Points: Ian Keatley 126; Tries: Tommy O'Donnell 4
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Saturday, March 6, 2010 - Newport Gwent Dragons 31 Munster 22, Rodney Parade
Friday, November 26, 2010 - Newport Gwent Dragons 20 Munster 6, Rodney Parade
Saturday, March 5, 2011 - Munster 38 Newport Gwent Dragons 17, Musgrave Park
Saturday, September 3, 2011 - Munster 20 Newport Gwent Dragons 12, Musgrave Park
Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Newport Gwent Dragons 14 Munster 24, Rodney Parade
Saturday, September 22, 2012 - Munster 33 Newport Gwent Dragons 13, Thomond Park
- The Newport Gwent Dragons have occupied 11th place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table since round 6, slipping to defeat in their last four matches in the competition, and have not been victorious at Rodney Parade since beating Benetton Treviso there on February 8
- The Dragons' only win in their last eleven matches against Irish provinces was 14-3 at home to Connacht on November 23 last
- Munster have won just one of their last six PRO12 fixtures: 22-0 at home to Connacht in Cork on March 23
- The Munstermen's only win over a Welsh region since September was a 24-18 success over the Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park in November
- Munster have won their last four games against the Dragons since the Welshmen's 20-6 victory at Rodney Parade in November 2010
|29/11/13||Newport Gwent Dragons||14 - 18||Munster Rugby||7,118|
|28/9/13||Munster Rugby||23 - 9||Newport Gwent Dragons||6,248|
|19/4/13||Newport Gwent Dragons||30 - 24||Munster Rugby||7,523|