All eight of Munster’s 2009 Lions, including tour captain Paul O’Connell, have been listed in the province’s 25-man squad for Friday’s Magners League clash with the Scarlets at Musgrave Park (kick-off 7.35pm).
Munster coach Tony McGahan has named a near full-strength squad for the visit of the Scarlets to Cork later this week.
2009 tour captain Paul O’Connell and his fellow Lions Keith Earls, Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary, Jerry Flannery, Donncha O’Callaghan, Alan Quinlan and David Wallace have all been pencilled in for the game.
Only Earls played in last Saturday’s 25-10 win at home to Connacht, while O’Gara and Wallace were unused replacements.
Friday’s fixture could be one of Munster’s most important games of the season as should they beat the Scarlets, they will move onto 57 or 58 points at the top of the table with chief chasers, the Ospreys and Leinster both on 42 points ahead of their Saturday games.
So if Munster can claim their tenth win in-a-row in all competitions and then the Ospreys, who have a game in hand, falter at home to Edinburgh, the title race will be effectively over.
Coming down from the high of being selected for the Lions will not be a problem for Munster’s tourists, according to scrum half O’Leary.
“It won’t be hard to focus at all. Already I’m thinking of Munster on Friday night against the Scarlets,” he said.
“We’re at the business end of the season and we’re concentrating on that. There’s good professionalism within the squad, everyone wants to win.
“You can get satisfaction when things are going well but you must stay focused.”
MUNSTER Squad (v Scarlets): Backs (11) – Denis Hurley, Barry Murphy, Kieran Lewis, Paul Warwick, Doug Howlett, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling, Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer, Tomas O’Leary.
Forwards (14) – Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Federico Pucciarello, Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan.