Munster coach Declan Kidney has selected a 25-man squad for the former champions’ Heineken Cup pool opener against Wasps, last season’s winners, on Saturday (Ricoh Arena, kick-off 5.30pm). Out-half Ronan O’Gara will captain the side in the injury-enforced absence of regular skipper Paul O’Connell.
O’Gara, who turned in a man of the match display in last weekend’s Magners League win over Edinburgh, will lead Munster for their trip to Coventry on Saturday. Declan Kidney named his extended squad after training today at the UL Sports Bowl – the selection also includes Anthony Horgan, who is returning from injury, and player manager Shaun Payne.
Denis Hurley, who impressed at full-back last weekend against Edinburgh, has made the cut as has the latest addition to the province’s set-up, former New Zealand Maori back rower Jake Paringatai.
The notable absentee is Paul O’Connell who is still hindered by a back disc problem. The Munster team and replacements will not be confirmed until Friday lunchtime.
Looking ahead for Saturday’s meeting of the Heineken Cup’s two most recent champions, Anthony Foley said: “It’s a massive game for us against obviously the reigning champions, playing them away from home. They seem to be hitting form at the moment with a good win over Gloucester and I imagine they are licking their lips at us coming over.
“We enjoy a backs-to-the-wall game and we will have good support in Coventry, it is just about us putting in a performance they can get behind and trying to impose our game on them.”
MUNSTER Squad (v Wasps): Forwards (13) – Marcus Horan, Federico Pucciariello, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Jerry Flannery, Frankie Sheahan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Jake Paringatai, Anthony Foley, Denis Leamy.
Backs (12) – Peter Stringer, Tomas O’Leary, Ronan O’Gara (capt), Paul Warwick, Anthony Horgan, Ian Dowling, Brian Carney, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi, Kieran Lewis, Shaun Payne, Denis Hurley.