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Munster Make Switches For Sale Showdown

Munster Make Switches For Sale Showdown

Ian Dowling has recovered from the knock he sustained last week against Montauban to be named in the Munster team for Sunday’s Heineken Cup Pool 1 encounter with Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park (kick-off 1pm).

However, Dowling’s back-line colleague Rua Tipoki failed a fitness test on Friday morning and has been ruled out of contention.

Tipoki’s hamstring injury has forced coach Tony McGahan to reshuffle his back-line with Keith Earls moving from full-back to partner Lifeimi Mafi in midfield and Paul Warwick handed the number 15 jersey.

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Tomas O’Leary has recovered from a leg injury to edge out Peter Stringer for the scrum half berth.

McGahan said: “We gave Tomas a couple of days to fit in. He came through Wednesday where he did a little bit of work and then yesterday morning’s session.”

McGahan makes just one change up front with John O’Sullivan coming into the back row in place of Justin Melck, who drops to the replacements bench. O’Sullivan will start at openside flanker with David Wallace at number 8.

Explaining that change, McGahan said: “John has played very well for us whenever he’s been called on.

“He’s a very good ‘on-the-ground’ type of player whose style will complement the back row given the tight pitch and type of game we expect.”

MUNSTER (v Sale Sharks): Paul Warwick; Doug Howlett, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling; Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell (capt), Alan Quinlan, John O’Sullivan, David Wallace.

Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Federico Pucciariello, Donnacha Ryan, Justin Melck, Peter Stringer, Barry Murphy, Kieran Lewis.