Munster have, as expected, named South African centre Jean de Villiers to start against Leinster in the big Magners League clash this weekend. In addition to the Tri Nations winner, Ireland stars Keith Earls, Jerry Flannery and David Wallace have been named in the starting side.
19 players who saw action in the Heineken Cup semi-final defeat to Leinster last May have been included in the Munster matchday squad for Saturday’s Magners League clash with Leinster at the RDS.
And this game sees the appearance for the first time this season of Keith Earls, Ian Dowling, Jerry Flannery, Paul O’Connell and David Wallace, while Paul Warwick returns to the squad after injuring a foot in the pre-season game against Leicester Tigers.
Earls and O’Connell were due to turn out against the Dragons last weekend but were denied by illness and injury respectively.
However, both players came through training yesterday with flying colours and while Earls is in from the off, the Lions captain will start from the bench.
Winger Dowling has recovered from the knee injury that as kept him out up to last Thursday when he played a full 80 minutes in the Munster ‘A’ side’s win over Ulster at Shaw’s Bridge.
Elsewhere, coach Tony McGahan makes two changes to the back row, one enforced by the absence through injury of Alan Quinlan (neck), with Denis Leamy on the blindside, Niall Ronan back from injury on the openside and Nick Williams, the hat-trick hero from the Dragons game, continuing at number 8.
MUNSTER (v Leinster): Keith Earls; Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Jean de Villiers, Denis Hurley; Ronan O’Gara (capt), Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Tony Buckley, Paul O’Connell, David Wallace, Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer, Ian Dowling.