On Saturday Munster supporters will be afforded the opportunity to bid farewell to a legend of provincial, Irish and European rugby when Anthony Foley leads Munster out for the province’s final Magners League game of the season against Glasgow Warriors (Musgrave Park, kick-off 5pm).
Even though squad captain Paul O’Connell is named in the starting line-up, the soon-to-be-retired Anthony Foley will wear the captain’s armband in his 71st and final league game.
In all, Declan Kidney’s selection shows eight changes, one positional, to the side that started last weekend’s dramatic one-point win over Llanelli at Stradey Park.
That positional change see Alan Quinlan switch from blindside to openside flanker to accomodate the inclusion of Donnacha Ryan in the back row.
Ryan, like the rest of the squad, will be hoping to impress and force his way into contention for a place in Munster’s Heineken Cup final squad.
The 34-year-old Foley will be making his 201st competitive appearance for the province against Glasgow and he feels the time is right to call time on what has been a lengthy and hugely enjoyable career.
“You just can’t go on forever and I’m just happy to be still playing after all this time. When you’re young, you never look ahead to the finishing line but now I’m pretty sure this is the right moment to go,” he told the Irish Examiner.
“The way my body is feeling right now, I just couldn’t have taken another season. I’ve been playing international rugby since I was 16, played for Shannon at 18, Munster and Ireland not long after that and toured all over the world.
“I have always wanted to perform to my best and never to be a bit player. Life as a professional in Ireland is very comfortable.
“The schedule is laid out for you and you’re told what to do. After that, you earn what you get, you put your body on the line give it everything you can.”
MUNSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Denis Hurley; Anthony Horgan, Lifeimi Mafi, Rua Tipoki, Ian Dowling; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Federico Pucciariello, Frankie Sheahan, John Hayes, Mick O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Anthony Foley (capt).
Replacements: Tony Buckley, Marcus Horan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Paul Warwick, Keith Earls.