Munster coach Alan Gaffney has made five changes to his side ahead of Sunday’s Celtic League trip to the struggling Borders, and the lead-up to the province’s home Celtic Cup quarter-final.
Munster coach Alan Gaffney has made five changes to his side ahead of Sunday’s Celtic League trip to the struggling Borders, and the lead-up to the province’s Celtic Cup quarter-final.
CELTIC LEAGUE: Week 20: Sunday, April 10
The Borders v Munster, Netherdale, 4.45pm (live Setanta Sports Scotland)
Munster – valiant 19-10 losers to Biarritz Olympique in last weekend’s Heineken Cup quarter-final in San Sebastian – will be hoping to see out Gaffney’s tenure on a high with Cup success.
With the league title already gone, Paul Devlin, Frank Murphy and Stephen Keogh – all Ireland Under-21s colleagues three years ago – are given a starting chance at Netherdale.
English-born Devlin replaces Mike Mullins at outside centre, with scrum-half Murphy – who picked up man-of-the-match honours against Ulster last month – shifting Ireland international Peter Stringer onto the replacements bench.
A slight injury to Paul Burke is covered by Jason Holland at fly-half, while up front, Shannon duo Jerry Flannery and Keogh come in for Frankie Sheahan and Alan Quinlan respectively.
Garryowen’s Conan Doyle makes the bench after a solid second half outing as a substitute in the Munster Development squad’s 42-26 friendly win over the “Euskarians” Basque Devlopment side last Sunday.
Unbeaten against the Scottish basement side in three meeting, Munster will be hoping to extend their winning league run to three matches.
With just two league fixtures to come, Gaffney’s charges – guaranteed second – will face the league’s seventh-ranked side – currently Ulster – in the Celtic Cup quarter-finals on the weekend of April 30-May 2.
Head-to-head since 2004: Borders 0, Munster 3
League form: Borders: LLLLL; Munster: LWLWW
Top scorers: Borders: Charlie Hore 138 points / Hore 5 tries; Munster: Paul Burke 129 / Christian Cullen 8
(15) Shaun Payne
(14) John Kelly
(13) Paul Devlin
(12) Rob Henderson
(11) Anthony Horgan
(10) Jason Holland
(9) Frank Murphy
(1) Marcus Horan
(2) Jerry Flannery
(3) John Hayes
(4) Donncha O’Callaghan
(5) Paul O’Connell
(6) Stephen Keogh
(7) David Wallace
(8) Anthony Foley (Capt)
(16) Eugene McGovern
(17) Frankie Sheahan
(18) Trevor Hogan
(19) Jim Williams
(20) Peter Stringer
(21) Conan Doyle
(22) Mike Mullins
Referee: Phil Fear (Wales)