Ireland World Cup squad members Peter Stringer and Brian Carney could both see action on Sunday as Munster bid to erase the memories of a succession of defeats away to the Ospreys.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Sunday, October 14
OSPREYS v MUNSTER, Liberty Stadium, 4.10pm (live S4C/Setanta Sports)
Team News: Brian Carney and Alan Quinlan have both been named in Munster’s starting line-up for Sunday’s Magners League trip to the Ospreys. Carney, who scored a try in the corresponding fixture last season, and Quinlan, who was used off the bench last week against Cardiff, will both make their first starts of the campaign for Munster.
Carney’s return to the team is opportune given that injury forces Anthony Horgan to miss out. Ian Dowling switches to the left wing to accomodate Carney’s inclusion and the only change up front sees Quinlan come in at blindside flanker in place of the benched James Coughlan.
Munster coach Declan Kidney has included two players who saw World Cup action for Ireland in his matchday 22 – scrum half Peter Stringer and hooker Frankie Sheahan have been listed amongst the replacements.
Besides the switch between Quinlan and Coughlan, the only other alteration to the replacements sees the returning Stringer take over from Gerry Hurley, who scored two tries for Garryowen in Saturday’s AIB Cup win over Lansdowne.
Meanwhile, the Ospreys will hand Wales scrum half Mike Phillips his home debut on Sunday. Phillips will have two of his World Cup team-mates for company in the Ospreys’ back-line, while there are five named in a strong-looking pack.
The five forwards to be re-introduced are Duncan Jones, Huw Bennett, Ian Gough, Ian Evans and Jonathan Thomas. Amongst the Ospreys’ injured players are Justin Marshall (calf strain), Andy Lloyd (shoulder strain), Shaun Connor (illness) and David Bishop (knee).
Ospreys: Lee Byrne; Nikki Walker, Sonny Parker, Gavin Henson, Shane Williams; Gareth Owen, Mike Phillips; Duncan Jones, Huw Bennett, Cai Griffiths, Ian Gough, Ian Evans, Jonathan Thomas, Ben Lewis, Filo Tiatia (capt).
Replacements: Barry WIlliams, Adam Jones, Lyndon Bateman, Steve Tandy, Martin Roberts, James Hook, Andrew Bishop.
Munster: Shaun Payne; Brian Carney, Kieran Lewis, Rua Tipoki, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Tomas O’Leary; Federico Pucciariello, Denis Fogarty, Tony Buckley, Mark Melbourne, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Anthony Foley (capt).
Replacements: Frankie Sheahan, Darragh Hurley, Billy Holland, James Coughlan, Peter Stringer, Jeremy Manning, Lifeimi Mafi.
Referee: Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Coach Speak: Lyn Jones (Ospreys) – “It was great to welcome back our remaining internationals this week and it has been a pleasure to have them back in the regional environment. They have had a mentally bruising World Cup but they have been revived by a short break and are raring to go. The hard work now starts in earnest on Sunday against a strong Munster side and we are looking to quickly get back to where we were last season.
“It has been evident in our early fixtures that teams are trying to strangle our ambition to play positive rugby. We have great respect for Munster and hope they will come to the Liberty with an intent to play rugby and we should then see a game worthy of the Magners League.”
Top Scorers: 2007/08 Magners League – Points: Ospreys: Shaun Connor 60; Munster: Paul Warwick 44; Tries: Ospreys: Lee Byrne 2; Munster: Paul Warwick 2.
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS:
September 27, 2003: Ospreys 33 Munster 26, St. Helen’s
February 27, 2004: Munster 15 Ospreys 18, Musgrave Park
September 3, 2004: Ospreys 34 Munster 17, St. Helen’s
December 18, 2004: Munster 13 Ospreys 9, Musgrave Park
September 10, 2005: Munster 37 Ospreys 10, Musgrave Park
May 5, 2006: Ospreys 27 Munster 10, Liberty Stadium
November 25, 2006: Munster 25 Ospreys 20, Thomond Park
April 7, 2007: Ospreys 20 Munster 12, Liberty Stadium
– The Ospreys drew with Edinburgh at Murrayfield last Friday. The Welsh region’s only previous loss at Liberty Stadium to an Irish side was against Ulster on May 26, 2006.
– Munster’s 19-17 home loss to Cardiff Blues last Friday ended a six-match winning run for the Munstermen in the Magners League.
– The last six league meetings between the two teams have all gone the way of the home side on the day. Munster have already won in Wales this season, beating the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade (26-16) on September 28.
MUNSTER MATCH REPORTS:
October 5 – Munster 17 Cardiff Blues 19
September 28 – Newport Gwent Dragons 16 Munster 26
September 22 – Munster 26 Llanelli Scarlets 16