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Munster Unchanged For Visit Of Wasps

Munster Unchanged For Visit Of Wasps

Munster coach Declan Kidney has stuck with the same 22 that lost narrowly to Clermont Auvergne for Saturday’s Heineken Cup Pool 5 showdown with London Wasps (Thomond Park, kick-off 5.35pm).

Kidney was afforded the chance to name the same team, with no fresh injury worries and hooker Jerry Flannery’s disciplinary hearing for his alleged stamp during last weekend’s win over Clermont Auvergne not until January 24.

This is a meeting of the two most recent Heineken Cup champions – Munster were successful in 2006 while last year saw Wasps triumph by beating Leicester Tigers in the Twickenham final.

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Munster are three points behind Wasps in the Pool 5 table heading into the final weekend of matches but a win, preferably with a try-scoring bonus point and with Wasps being denied a losing bonus point, would put the province in pole position to securing a quarter-final place for the 10th year running.

Clermont Auvergne, who visit Llanelli Scarlets on Saturday, also have designs on making the last-eight.

Munster out-half and stand-in captain Ronan O’Gara will not be focusing on any individual head-to-heads. He said: “We’ve done video analysis on Wasps but my focus will be on myself and the Munster team. If we can get ourselves right that’s the most important thing – the quality is inside those red jerseys, we’ve got to make sure we bring that out.

“That’s the most important thing, that we back ourselves. We didn’t play well last week but we backed ourselves and gave ourselves a chance to qualify from the pool.

“Playing for each other can really carry you, in life and in sport. That’s what we have at the moment, and hopefully we show that again this weekend,” he added.

MUNSTER (v London Wasps): Shaun Payne; Brian Carney, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi, Doug Howlett; Ronan O’Gara (capt), Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donnacha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Anthony Foley.

Replacements: Frankie Sheahan, Tony Buckley, Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Tomas O’Leary, Paul Warwick, Kieran Lewis.