Six forwards who saw action for Ireland during the recent World Cup will return to provincial duty tomorrow night when Munster take on Glasgow Warriors in the Magners League.
Props John Hayes and Marcus Horan, hooker Jerry Flannery, lock Donncha O’Callaghan and back rowers David Wallace and Denis Leamy could all make their first appearances of the season for Munster at Firhill (kick-off 7.30pm).
Hayes, O’Callaghan and Wallace will definitely do so as all three have been named in the Munster starting line-up, along with Frankie Sheahan and Peter Stringer who both came on as second half replacements in the defeat last time out to the Ospreys.
Meanwhile, Flannery, Horan and Leamy will be on a bench that also includes Garryowen and Ireland ‘A’ winger Keith Earls.
In all, coach Declan Kidney has made eight changes – two positional – to the side that lost 16-3 to the Ospreys on October 14. The positional switches see Rua Tipoki move to number 13 with Lifeimi Mafi selected at inside centre and the return of Hayes sees Tony Buckley switch to loosehead prop.
Elsewhere, O’Callaghan takes over in the second row from Mark Melbourne, who is named on the bench, and Niall Ronan earns a well-deserved breather with Wallace getting the openside berth.
Having taken some time out after Ireland’s disappointing World Cup campaign, O’Callaghan is itching to get back out on the pitch with Munster.
He said: “When I got home from France I took a bit of time out, went away for a while but now I’m glad to be back and looking forward to it all. There’s no point in feeling sorry for yourself in this set-up and to be honest its a good way to have it.
“Glasgow have started to put together a good run and they look to be a stronger squad than before so I wouldn’t be under any illusions about how we’ll need to perform if we’re to get anything out this one.
“It’s been a while since we won there. The last time, when Rog (Ronan O’Gara) kicked the late drop goal, I wasn’t playing…I must have been injured! But we started out the year identifying our aims in this competition and we need to get back on track in that respect.”
Tomorrow night Munster will once again will be led by number eight Anthony Foley, who be winning his 184th competitive Munster cap.
MUNSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Shaun Payne; Brian Carney, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer; Tony Buckley, Frankie Sheahan, John Hayes; Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Anthony Foley (capt).
Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Marcus Horan, Mark Melbourne, Denis Leamy, Tomas O’Leary, Jeremy Manning, Keith Earls.