Peter Stringer will win his 170th Munster cap when he steps out at Croke Park for Saturday’s semi-final clash with Leinster in the one change from the side that started against the Ospreys in the quarter-final.
The ankle injury to Tomas O’Leary that necessitated that reshuffle also means there is one change on the bench with the experienced Mike Prendergast providing the back-up to Peter Stringer.
Munster trained on Thursday in brilliant sunshine at Musgrave Park and set out for Dublin today from Cork’s Kent Station, picking up the Limerick contingent at Limerick Junction and arriving in Heuston Station in the early afternoon.
Paul O’Connell and his players will then have a Captain’s Run training session at Croke Park, where Leinster trained yesterday.
Giving his thoughts on the rivalry between the two provinces, O’Connell said: “When I was growing up, the guy I hated to lose to was my brother. That is the way it is now.
“These guys (the Leinster players), after what we achieved together with Ireland, will be friends for life.
“But those are the guys you hate to lose to most and I am sure Leinster will be saying the same thing. It’s because we know each other so well and are friends that this is such a big rivalry.”
This will be the first time O’Connell will don the red of Munster at Croke Park and he is really looking forward to the occasion.
“The atmosphere at Lansdowne Road for the 2006 semi-final meeting of Munster and Leinster was phenomenal. This weekend will be no different.
“There might be a bit of a GAA element to the atmosphere as well. That will add to it.
“It will be fabulous to play a provincial game in Croke Park. It is something neither team has done before, and definitely the atmosphere will be a little bit different to an international.”
MUNSTER (v Leinster): Paul Warwick; Doug Howlett, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Ian Dowling; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell (capt), Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.
Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Tony Buckley, Mick O’Driscoll, Niall Ronan, Mike Prendergast, Barry Murphy, Denis Hurley.