With Tomas O’Leary ruled out with a foot injury, Peter Stringer is set to once again don the number 9 jersey as Munster begin their defence of the Heineken Cup at home to Montauban on Friday (Thomond Park Stadium, kick-off 9pm).
Peter Stringer, after a lively performance against Glasgow last weekend, will start Friday’s European opener, with Mike Prendergast providing scrum half cover on the replacements bench.
For his first Heineken Cup match in charge of the province, Tony McGahan has brought Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling and Jerry Flannery back into his matchday squad. Hooker Flannery has recovered from the elbow injury he sustained in the league win over Leinster.
Notably, the experienced Frankie Sheahan and Mick O’Driscoll have failed to be included in the selection. Denis Fogarty and Donnacha Ryan have been preferred instead.
Tony Buckley and Denis Hurley are also notable absentees. Hurley finished last season as Munster’s starting full-back but Keith Earls’ performances in the position so far this season have earned him a chance to bed down in the province’s Heineken cup side.
Commenting on some of the selection issues, McGahan said: “Peter (Stringer) has brought improvements to his game that the coaching staff were looking for, and he’s certainly worked very hard at that and went a long way towards that in the first half last week.
“This is just a selection for this weekend. We think that Denis (Fogarty) can have a real impact from the bench and we think that Donnacha Ryan gives us some cover at lock and at number 6, which allows us to have a specialist (number 8) like John O’Sullivan on the bench.”
MUNSTER Squad (v Montauban): Backs (10) – Keith Earls, Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Barry Murphy, Ian Dowling, Rua Tipoki, Ronan O’Gara, Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer, Mike Prendergast.
Forwards (12) – Marcus Horan, Federico Pucciariello Jerry Flannery, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Alan Quinlan, John O’Sullivan, Justin Melck, David Wallace.