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O’Connell And Earls Make Munster Squad

O’Connell And Earls Make Munster Squad

Paul O’Connell and Keith Earls have both been included in a 28-man Munster squad for Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final showdown with Northampton Saints at Thomond Park (kick-off 5.30pm).

Both Paul O’Connell and Keith Earls, who missed the Leinster game with groin strains, were at Thomond Park on Tuesday morning as the Munster squad trained and although neither took part, the indications from management are that both will be in the matchday 23 when it is announced on Friday. 

Looking forward to the game, Munster coach Tony McGahan said: “We realise where we are against Northampton, they’re a terrific scrummaging unit and we need to perform against them.

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“We need to be at our best on Saturday evening if we want to get the result.”

Commenting on the challenge facing the 2006 and 2008 champions, South African centre Jean de Villiers said: “This is the crunch time of the season for us, this is the time we need to get the results.

“It didn’t happen for us last week (against Leinster) and we need to learn from that and there is everything to play for.”

“You want to build on your peformance and it’s no good having a good individual performance if the team aren’t performing, so we need a good team effort next Saturday.”

He added: “I’d like to go home knowing I gave it my all and I did the jersey proud, putting in a performance that’s worthy of the Munster jersey.

“It’s a great challenge and these are the situations you want to be in, playing top class rugby.”

MUNSTER Squad (v Northampton Saints) – Backs (11): Tomas O’Leary, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Paul Warwick, Jean de Villiers, Lifeimi Mafi, Tom Gleeson, Keith Earls, Ian Dowling, Doug Howlett, Scott Deasy.

Forwards (17): Marcus Horan, Dave Ryan, Julien Brugnaut, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Denis Fogarty, Damien Varley, Jerry Flannery, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, David Wallace, Nick Williams, Billy Holland, James Coughlan.