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O’Gara Back To Lead Munster

O’Gara Back To Lead Munster

Experienced out-half Ronan O’Gara will captain a Munster team showing eight changes – two of them positional – for Friday’s Magners League meeting with Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park (kick-off 8pm).

18 players who featured in the matchday 22 for last week’s home win over the Scarlets will be on duty against Glasgow.

Flanker Alan Quinlan and winger Denis Hurley have been restored to Munster’s starting line-up, centre Lifeimi Mafi is back after serving a one-match suspension and Ronan O’Gara returns to lead the team from out-half.

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Two of O’Gara’s team-mates from Ireland’s game against Scotland last Saturday, Donncha O’Callaghan and Tony Buckley, have also been included in the Munster side.

Speaking ahead of the game, Munster team manager Shaun Payne said: “The internationals have had a bit of a disappointing time, but personally I don’t think it will affect how the lads come back to Munster.

“If anything, it will make them hungrier for success here. Results can play both ways. Our international boys have always, irrespective of the results with Ireland, come back bursting to play for Munster.

“They have really enjoyed it. You are dealing with the Paul O’Connells, the Donncha O’Callaghans, the Ronan O’Garas of this world, professionals to the core. No matter what the occasion they give their all to the game.”

Commenting on Glasgow and Munster’s own play-off ambitions, he added: “You hate to call a team a bogey side, but we have definitely struggled against Glasgow in the past. They are a very tough side, one which always travel with a lot of confidence.

“I think the Scotland result will be a positive for them. They will be pushing all out for a Magners League play-off spot.

“Last year, we pulled all points bar one available to us in the Magners League during the Six Nations period.

“We have done relatively well this time round also. We haven’t reached the same heights as twelve months ago.

“But crucially we are in the top four and we have a whole run of home games coming up against teams above us. It is in our own hands, and that is a good position to be in.”

Meanwhile, versatile back Barry Murphy will make a welcome return to action this weekend when he lines out for his club UL Bohemians in their AIB League Division 1A clash with Garryowen at Dooradoyle.

Murphy limped off in the early stages of Munster’s Magners League game against the Dragons back in September and although initially thought not to serious, his ankle injury required surgery in December.

He was named in the British & Irish Cup squad for the game against Nottingham in February but further aggravated the injury in the lead-up to the kick-off.

Thankfully, he is now set to make a timely return as Munster face into their busy end of season period.

Tickets for Friday’s Munster v Glasgow game are available to purchase here, with gates opening at 6pm on match night. 

Tickets will be on sale from the ticket office in the East Stand up to 4pm, and following this, tickets will also be available from 6pm from the Ticketmaster outlets situated outside the Shannon Gate and at Hassett’s Cross.

MUNSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Paul Warwick; Denis Hurley, Lifeimi Mafi, Jean de Villiers, Ian Dowling; Ronan O’Gara (capt), Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Damien Varley, Dave Ryan, Billy Holland, Nick Williams, Duncan Williams, Tom Gleeson, Doug Howlett.