Munster coach Tony McGahan has selected an unchanged squad for Saturday’s Magners League clash with title holders, the Ospreys, at Thomond Park (kick-off 8pm).
The Munster squad trained on Tuesday at the match venue and coach Tony McGahan will announce the starting line-up and replacements on Friday afternoon.
Experienced back rower Alan Quinlan will be hoping to make the side for what would be his 200th competitive appearance for his native province.
Quinlan made his Munster debut against Western Samoa in November 1996, and is set to become the second Munster player to pass the 200-cap mark, following in the footsteps of former captain Anthony Foley.
Ireland internationals Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary and Donncha O’Callaghan all made a winning return off the bench for Munster last weekend, with lock O’Callaghan scoring a crucial second half try in their 16-13 win over Edinburgh.
Asked about the likelihood of the international players starting against the Ospreys, McGahan said: “Whether we start them all remains to be seen.
“The thing at this stage, as they come back in different forms, is to try to integrate them back in while at the same time try not to make too many changes and have some continuity in selection.
“Some guys, like Marcus (Horan) and John (Hayes), who have played off the bench for the last two weeks, are looking to come back in. Some guys will come back in, some won’t. We’ll just have to wait.”
Back rower David Wallace was also back training at Thomond Park, while McGahan is ‘hopeful’ that ankle injury victim Keith Earls will return in time for the opening rounds of the Heineken Cup next month.
Hooker Jerry Flannery continues to be troubled by hamstring, calf and Achilles problems. “Jerry has been up again to the doctor today and he will see another doctor on Friday, when we hope we get a clearer picture of him,” explained the Munster boss.
“Hopefully it’s only short term but he’s still indefinite at this stage. A lot of his (current injuries) stem from the back, so we’re just checking everything out at this point in time.”
There is better news for centre Lifeimi Mafi who is poised to play for the Munster ‘A’ team against Ulster Ravens in Nenagh on Friday. It will be his first game since having a shoulder operation in May.
MUNSTER Squad (v Ospreys) – Backs (13): Denis Hurley, Felix Jones, Scott Deasy, Ian Dowling, Doug Howlett, Danny Barnes, Johne Murphy, Sam Tuitupou, Ronan O’Gara, Paul Warwick, Duncan Williams, Peter Stringer, Tomas O’Leary.
Forwards (16): Wian du Preez, Marcus Horan, Damien Varley, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, Mick O’Driscoll, Ian Nagle, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony.