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Magners Preview: Munster v Dragons

Magners Preview: Munster v Dragons

Munster are hoping to secure their second win of the season against the Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park tomorrow (kick-off 7.30pm), following on from September’s 26-16 win over Paul Turner’s side at Rodney Parade.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, November 24

Musgrave Park, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland)

Team News: In the absence of Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara, 2006 Heineken Cup-winning captain Anthony Foley has been chosen as Munster’s skipper for tomorrow night’s Magners League showdown with the Newport Gwent Dragons in Cork.

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Munster coach Declan Kidney has made nine changes to the side that started last week’s Heineken Cup win over Clermont Auvergne for the Dragons’ tie.

Foley takes over from Denis Leamy at number 8 in a pack that shows six changes to the one that took to the field for the Clermont Auvergne game.

However, with the exception of David Wallace (dead leg), John Hayes (neck) and Shaun Payne, all those who featured against Clermont Auvergne will be involved in the matchday 22 for the league visit of the Welshmen.

Denis Hurley, Donnacha Ryan and Niall Ronan, three players who have impressed for their clubs in the AIB League recently, will get timely run-outs ahead of next week’s Munster-Leinster derby clash in Cork and their province’s back-to-back Heineken Cup encounters with Llanelli.

Three of Munster’s nine changes are in the back-line where Hurley takes over from Payne, Kieran Lewis replaces Rua Tipoki and Paul Warwick comes in for Ronan O’Gara – both Tipoki and O’Gara named on a strong looking Munster bench.

Up front there is a complete change in the front row with Federico Pucciariello, Frankie Sheahan and Tony Buckley replacing Marcus Horan (bench), Jerry Flannery (bench) and the injured Hayes.

Shannon’s Donnacha Ryan partners Mick O’Driscoll in the second row with Donncha O’Callaghan named on the bench. David Wallace suffered a dead leg in the Clermont Auvergne game so he sits this one out with Niall Ronan taking over at openside.

Meanwhile, the Dragons have rung the changes for their trip to Cork. Among the backs there are three changes with Martyn Thomas replacing Kevin Morgan at full-back while Paul Emerick comes in for the injured Gareth Wyatt.

At out-half, Aled Thomas starts following Ceri Sweeney’s call-up to the Welsh squad for this weekend’s Test match against South Africa.

Among the Dragons’ forwards, young prop Hugh Gustafson starts at loosehead while Jamie Corsi makes his first start of the season, coming in for Rhys Thomas at tighthead.

There is an all new second row partnership with Andrew Hall replacing Luke Charteris and Adam Jones will make his second start of the season, having recovered from the groin injury he sustained against Llanelli in September.

Michael Owen reverts to number 8 and will lead the Dragons as they aim to build on their seventh place in the Magners League.

MUNSTER: Denis Hurley; Brian Carney, Kieran Lewis, Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer; Federico Pucciariello, Frankie Sheahan, Tony Buckley, Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Anthony Foley (capt).

Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Marcus Horan, Denis Leamy, Donncha O’Callaghan, Gerry Hurley, Ronan O’Gara, Rua Tipoki.

DRAGONS: Martyn Thomas; Paul Emerick, Rhodri Gomer Davies, Ashley Smith, Richard Mustoe; Aled Thomas, Wayne Evans; Hugh Gustafson, Steve Jones, Jamie Corsi, Andrew Hall, Adam Jones, Jamie Ringer, Richard Parks, Michael Owen (capt).

Replacements: Ben Daly/Kieran Crawford, Adam Black, Peter Sidoli, Joe Bearman, Kevin Morgan, Phil Dollman, Robert Lewis.

Referee: Rob Debney (England)

Top Scorers: 2007/08 Magners League – Points: Munster: Paul Warwick 50; Dragons: Aled Thomas 32; Tries: Munster: Paul Warwick 2; Dragons: Ceri Sweeney, Wayne Evans, Gareth Wyatt 2 each.


October 17, 2003: Dragons 29 Munster 6, Rodney Parade
March 12, 2004: Munster 6 Dragons 16, Thomond Park
November 13, 2004: Munster 25 Dragons 16, Thomond Park
March 25, 2005: Dragons 8 Munster 24, Rodney Parade
January 28, 2006: Munster 10 Dragons 8, Musgrave Park
April 7, 2006: Dragons 23 Munster 17, Rodney Parade
January 5, 2007: Dragons 19 Munster 12, Rodney Parade
April 28, 2007: Munster 15 Dragons 7, Musgrave Park
September 28, 2007: Dragons 16 Munster 26, Rodney Parade


– Munster’s only defeat in their last seven home matches in all competitions was a 19-17 reversal against Cardiff Blues in the Magners League on October 5

– Munster have lost their last two games against Welsh opponents. Newport Gwent Dragons have won their last two encounters in the Magners League but have lost on their last 13 visits to Ireland – their last win in the Emerald Isle being a 28-21 success against Ulster at Ravenhill on October 8, 2004

– The teams have met on nine previous occasions in the league with Munster winning five of those games and the Dragons boasting four victories