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O’Gara To Start Against Sale

O’Gara To Start Against Sale

Munster’s team for their crucial Heineken Cup Pool 1 clash with Sale Sharks at Thomond Park Stadium on Friday (kick-off 8pm) shows just one change to the side which defeated Sale back in October.

That one change comes in the back row where a fit-again Denis Leamy replaces John O’Sullivan and there is also just one change on the replacements bench from that October game with Niall Ronan in for Justin Melck who has returned to his native South Africa.

The Munster side announced this morning includes both Ronan O’Gara and Paul Warwick.

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O’Gara missed Munster’s Magners League trip to the Ospreys last weekend with a slight hamstring injury, while Warwick was injured during that game sparking worries over the out-half berth.

But both came through Wednesday’s rain-lashed Musgrave Park training session with Warwick preferred at full-back to the benched Denis Hurley.

Speaking at the squad announcement in the Heineken Brewery, second row Donncha O’Callaghan outlined the enormity of the task Munster face on Friday.

“Sale are a quality side, they really are. I watched them against London Irish and they were very impressive,” he said.

“They have quality players right across the field, they’re a big abrasive team, well able to put themselves about but at the same time they can play good rugby when they decide to.

“The group is still wide open. Any one of three can still win it – I wouldn’t rule Clermont Auvergne out although they have to travel to Sale. So this is a cup final for both of us, simple as that.”

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, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.

Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Federico Pucciariello, Donnacha Ryan, Niall Ronan, Peter Stringer, Barry Murphy, Denis Hurley.

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