Ian Dowling will return to the Munster team for the first time since January’s game against Montauban, when he lines out in Saturday’s Magners League clash with Leinster at Thomond Park Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).
After the Montauban outing, Ian Dowling subsequently injured a hamstring in training and according to Munster fitness staff makes it back into the side thanks to his ‘superb application in his rehab of the injury.’
He comes back into the side at the immediate expense of Barry Murphy, who played in the game against Glasgow but now slips to the bench, while Paul Warwick is named at full-back with Denis Hurley listed among the replacements.
Up front there is a complete change in the front five with the return of the Grand Slam-winning forwards but in the back row, Alan Quinlan and Niall Ronan, both superb in the win over Glasgow, retain their places with David Wallace anchoring the scrum in the absence of the injured Denis Leamy.
Speaking after training at Musgrave Park on Thursday, Quinlan, who will be winning his 173rd Munster cap this weekend, said: “You always look forward to these type of games, against the other Irish sides, local derbies if you like that have a unique atmosphere and this one probably caps ’em all.
“I know they (Leinster) will be looking to make up for us beating them (18-0) earlier (in the season) but even still, games against them are as tough as anything we play during the season.”
He added: “I think it’s going to be a great occasion. I hope the weather stays the way it is and if it does I think people are going to see a cracking game of rugby played by two good sides.”
MUNSTER (v Leinster): 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, Niall Ronan, David Wallace.
Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Tony Buckley, Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, Peter Stringer, Barry Murphy, Denis Hurley.