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Munster Announce Squad For Ospreys Showdown

Munster Announce Squad For Ospreys Showdown

Ronan O’Gara and Denis Leamy have overcome their respective injuries to be named in Munster’s extended squad for their Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with the Ospreys on Sunday (Thomond Park, kick-off 1pm).

The Munster players trained at the University of Limerick on Wednesday before coach Tony McGahan finalised his 26-man panel for Sunday’s eagerly-awaited quarter-final.

Out-half Ronan O’Gara, the Heineken Cup’s record points scorer, injured his ankle during Munster’s Magners League win over Leinster last weekend but concerns over his fitness have been quashed.

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Back rower Denis Leamy trained fully at UL and will be hoping to displace one of Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan and David Wallace from the starting back row that performed so well against Leinster.

Team captain Paul O’Connell (hip) and winger Doug Howlett (virus) are expected to be fit for the game.

O’Connell said: “I got a bang on the hip against Leinster and it has been a little bit sore this week. That’s why I missed training today, but hopefully I’ll be fine for the weekend.”

With a nod to the Ospreys contingent in the Wales side that lost the RBS 6 Nations decider to Ireland, O’Gara said: “They’ll have the upper hand psychologically, because they’re wounded. You can’t really replicate that, and we know because we’ve been on that side of the fence so many times.

“The Ospreys will be very dangerous because of the quality of players they have. If we’re not at the pitch we need to be we’ll be beaten.”

But coming off the back of last Saturday’s 22-5 league win over their arch rivals, O’Gara said morale in the Munster squad is high.

“Obviously the boys are thrilled because it was a big result for us.

“I think the coaches have some great ideas about how to play the game and this team is really buying into it.

“We are posing threats all over the park and we’re keeping the opposition guessing.”

Meanwhile, after becoming Ireland’s most-capped international, Munster prop John Hayes is set to equal the Heineken Cup caps record of his former provincial and international team-mate Anthony Foley on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Hayes will join Foley on 86 tournament appearances, having made his debut in the competition against Petrarca Rugby in September 1998.

MUNSTER Squad (v Ospreys): Backs (11) – Tomas O’Leary, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Lifeimi Mafi, Keith Earls, Barry Murphy, Doug Howlett, Ian Dowling, Kieran Lewis, Paul Warwick, Denis Hurley.

Forwards (15) – Marcus Horan, Federico Pucciariello, Jerry Flannery, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell (capt), Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, Donnacha Ryan, David Wallace, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy, Nick Williams.