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Leamy To Captain Munster In Pre-Season Opener

Leamy To Captain Munster In Pre-Season Opener

For his first game back since sustaining a serious knee injury against Perpignan last December, Denis Leamy has been handed the captaincy for Munster’s opening pre-season friendly against Leicester Tigers on Friday.

Denis Leamy, who has patiently worked his way back to fitness, is hungry for game-time after such a long lay-off. Friday’s encounter with Leicester at Musgrave Park (kick-off 7pm) offers him the perfect chance to get back into the swing of things.

Speaking about his injury-enforced lay-off, he said: “It’s been a long road back again, six months of rehab. In with the physios every day.

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“I’ve been down in Cork with Donnacha Ryan, who picked up that shoulder injury, and Darragh Hurley, who had that bad eye injury. We kinda worked together as a team, encouraged each other and it got us through the six months.

“It’s great to be back among the core group, to be in training and on the pitches with the lads, and involved in the banter. I’ve missed it a lot.”

He added: “Hopefully, I’ll get my chance (when the season begins) to show people what I can do and get back to some sort of form.”

Also returning from long stints on the sidelines are prop Darragh Hurley and full-back/winger Felix Jones, who have been included on the replacements bench, while Ian Dowling, who missed the latter stages of last season, has been named on the left wing to face Leicester.

Munster fans will get a chance to see new signing Sam Tuitupou in action for the first time. He has been named at inside centre, alongside the promising Danny Barnes.

South African recruit Wian du Preez, who was a short term signing last season, will be hoping to impress in the front row, with youngsters Stephen Archer, Dave Foley and Tommy O’Donnell also itching for further senior experience.

The Munster squad and management have just returned from a week long training camp at La Manga in Spain.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that lock Paul O’Connell will continue as the province’s captain for the coming season.

O’Connell is making gradual progress in his recovery from a groin injury and subsequent bone infection which has seen him sidelined since the end of this year’s Six Nations. He is back running now, but admitted that he is ‘looking at December’ in terms of a return date.

Tickets for Friday’s friendly against Leicester are available to purchase here. Tony McGahan’s Munster side will take on Gloucester in their final pre-season outing at Musgrave Park on Friday week (kick-off 7pm).

MUNSTER (v Leicester Tigers): Scott Deasy; Denis Hurley, Danny Barnes, Sam Tuitupou, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Duncan Williams; Wian du Preez, Denis Fogarty, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Dave Foley, Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O’Donnell, Denis Leamy (capt).

Replacements (from): Mike Sherry, Dave Ryan, Darragh Hurley, Ian Nagle, James Coughlan, Conor Murray, Corey Hircock, Felix Jones, Simon Zebo, Paddy Butler, Peter O’Mahony.