Marcus Horan is back in the Munster squad for the first time since mid-October, having been listed among the 28-man panel for Friday’s Heineken Cup Pool 1 decider against Northampton Saints at Thomond Park (kick-off 8pm).
The Munster squad trained at UL on Tuesday, with flanker David Wallace taking part after retiring with a slight calf injury at half-time of last Saturday’s Pool 1 win over Benetton Treviso.
The two-time Heineken Cup champions are just one more victory away from booking their place in the quarter-finals for the twelfth straight season. They currently top their pool by two points, with Northampton their nearest rivals.
Prop Marcus Horan played a full 80 minutes for Shannon the AIB League Division 1A, which was his first game back since having a routine medical procedure for a minor heart ailment.
Undoubtedly pleased to have Horan back on board, Munster coach Tony McGahan said: “Marcus has worked extremely hard to get back but even though he has trained for the last three weeks, unfortunately he missed out on a few club games before picking up 80 minutes last week.
“To get that and get dirty and everything else that front rowers do was very important. He has certainly ticked a lot of boxes and is in the selection mix for Friday without a doubt – we’ll have to see if he’ll start.
“It’s been a long stretch to put a front row forward into a position like that. Wian du Preez and John (Hayes) have done a great job and we’ll be very strong either way.”
Hooker Jerry Flannery is omitted again from the panel as he continues his recovering from an Achilles injury.
Meanwhile, there will be a bucket collection before the game on Friday evening in support of the UNICEF’s Haitian Earthquake Appeal.
Speaking of the support, Melanie Verwoerd, UNICEF Ireland Executive Director, said: “In the face of the devastating events in Haiti, people across Ireland and the world have responded instantly.
“We are very grateful for the continuing support of our Ambassador Donncha O’Callaghan and now, Munster Rugby for supporting UNICEF Ireland’s Emergency Appeal for the children of Haiti. Every cent raised at Friday night’s game will be used to save lives.”
MUNSTER Squad (v Northampton Saints) – Backs (11): Tomas O’Leary, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Jean de Villiers, Keith Earls, Tom Gleeson, Lifeimi Mafi, Doug Howlett, Ian Dowling, Denis Hurley, Paul Warwick.
Forwards (17): Wian Du Preez, Julien Brugnaut, Stephen Archer, John Hayes, Marcus Horan, Tony Buckley, Denis Fogarty, Damien Varley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan, James Coughlan, Mick O’Driscoll, Billy Holland, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, David Wallace.