Mick O’Driscoll will lead Munster against Glasgow Warriors at Firhill on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm), while Peter Stringer will start at scrum half with Tomas O’Leary providing cover on the replacements bench.
Although named in the extended squad released on Wednesday, Ian Dowling has not made the Munster matchday 22 but Barry Murphy has, having recovered from the shoulder injury that ruled him out for the past number of weeks.
Encouragingly though, Dowling took a full part in training on Wednesday and is expected to be fit for consideration for the forthcoming Magners League game against Leinster.
Speaking about the task his side face against Glasgow, Munster coach Tony McGahan said: “Obviously we have to be happy where we are in terms of league position as the competition restarts after the Six Nations. The squad have worked extremely hard, applied themselves well.
“However, we recognise how difficult a fixture this is. Glasgow haven’t been beaten at Firhill by an Irish side in almost two years and that sort of form gives a side huge confidence.
“They have almost all their internationals back and there has never been much between us in recent times.”
He added: “Our relative league positions won’t be a factor on Friday. They (Glasgow) are only one win off fourth spot.
“That’s how competitive the Magners League is and with Leinster to follow in this competition and then Ospreys a week later in the Heineken Cup, our performance on Friday is going to be hugely significant in terms of both those competitions.
“Obviously the break (for the Six Nations) makes it difficult but it’s the same for them as well so it’s a matter of adjusting quickly, players getting back into the tempo of game-time and taking the opportunites when they present themselves.”
MUNSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Denis Hurley; Doug Howlett, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Barry Murphy; Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer; Federico Pucciariello, Denis Fogarty, Tony Buckley, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), Donnacha Ryan; Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Michael Essex, Darragh Hurley, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Tomas O’Leary, Jeremy Manning, Kieran Lewis.