Several of Munster’s senior players, including Doug Howlett, Peter Stringer, Tony Buckley, Alan Quinlan and new Ireland cap Damien Varley, have been named in the province’s starting line-up to face Gloucester at Musgrave Park (kick-off 7pm) on Friday.
Ireland hopeful Johne Murphy will make his debut for Munster, partnering fellow new signing Sam Tuitupou in the province’s midfield.
As well as the return of Doug Howlett and Peter Stringer to the back-line, Munster coach Tony McGahan takes the opportunity to start the fit-again Felix Jones at full-back and Paul Warwick once again fills the out-half berth.
Jones was a half-time replacement in last week’s 17-13 loss to Leicester Tigers in Cork, a game in which stand-in captain Denis Leamy marked his return from injury with a try.
Leamy will marshall a strong starting pack for Friday’s game against Gloucester, with Wian du Preez, Donnacha Ryan and Tommy O’Donnell the other forwards retained from the outing against Leicester.
Ryan moves into the second row to partner the promising Ian Nagle, while Alan Quinlan’s inclusion at blindside flanker means Munster will field an all-Tipperary back row in Quinlan, Tommy O’Donnell and Leamy.
The home side’s replacements bench has a mix of youth and experience, the latter being provided by international trio Mick O’Driscoll, Niall Ronan and Denis Fogarty.
Meanwhile, Keith Earls will undergo further medical examination on Monday to determine the exact extent of his damaged ankle.
Earls sustained the injury whilst training in Cork on Monday and although initial indications are that there is no break, it will need a scan on Monday to determine the full extent of the injury.
MUNSTER (v Gloucester): Felix Jones; Doug Howlett, Johne Murphy, Sam Tuitupou, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Tony Buckley, Ian Nagle, Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Tommy O’Donnell, Denis Leamy (capt).
Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Dave Ryan, Stephen Archer, Mick O’Driscoll, Niall Ronan, Peter O’Mahony, Billy Holland, Duncan Williams, Danny Barnes, Scott Deasy, Simon Zebo, Ivan Dineen.