Seven of Munster’s eight 2009 Lions have been included in the side to face the Scarlets at Musgrave Park on Friday (kick-off 7.30pm), with Munster and Lions skipper Paul O’Connell, for once, being the odd man out.
The Munster management were, however, quick to confirm that Paul O’Connell will be fit for the following weekend’s trip to Croke Park and the much-anticipated Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster.
The Lions captain was in attendance for both of Munster’s sessions in UL on Wednesday.
O’Connell’s non-participation was purely precautionary as he watched his colleagues go through their paces ahead of the clash with the Scarlets.
Speaking about Munster’s lead at the top of the league table, Marcus Horan said: “It’s ultimately in our own hands at the moment and that’s the way we want to keep it. You don’t want to be relying on other teams to do you favours.
“The whole squad are well aware of that. It’s a nice position to be in, to know that if we just keep winning the league will be ours. But there’s a couple of tough games ahead.”
On the subject of the title race and Munster’s current 11-point lead, forwards coach Laurie Fisher said: “The Ospreys have got a game in hand, so let’s give them a bonus point win for that game. There’s only six points in it then.
“I think there’s still plenty of football to be played. It’s far from over.”
MUNSTER (v Scarlets): Paul Warwick; Doug Howlett, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling; Ronan O’Gara (capt), Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.
Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Tony Buckley, Donnacha Ryan, Niall Ronan, Peter Stringer, Barry Murphy, Denis Hurley.