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Munster Shuffle Pack For Interpro Tie

Munster Shuffle Pack For Interpro Tie

Munster coach Tony McGahan has made four changes – all in the forwards – for Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated Magners League derby clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).

One of those changes is necessiated by the withdrawal of Tony Buckley with a stomach bug, so John Hayes starts at tighthead prop.

South African Wian du Preez will prop down on the loosehead side of the Munster side, with Marcus Horan making way.

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The second row remains unchanged, while the anticipated return of Alan Quinlan means David Wallace, who donned the number 6 jersey against Glasgow Warriors, drops to the replacements bench.

Niall Ronan, Munster’s top try scorer this season, has been retained at openside flanker.

du Preez started in Munster’s opening two games and Horan in the next two, so there is an obvious selection pattern there.

Given that Wallace’s unfamiliar role at blindside against Glasgow was just his first game back and considering the form to date of Ronan, the reasoning behind that choice is evident.

Munster’s back-line is unchanged from the bonus point win at Firhill Stadium, meaning more game-time for Johne Murphy on the left wing and New Zealanders Lifeimi Mafi and Sam Tuitupou combine for the second time in the centre.

Previewing another fascinating interprovincial between these two sides, Munster coach Tony McGahan said: “We don’t really draw any conclusions from where Leinster are in the table or how they’ve done in past games.

“All we know is that we expect them to be at their best on Saturday and we’re sure they’ll be expecting our best too. You can’t argue with history, you can’t argue with the stats.

“They have four wins out of the last four Munster-Leinster encounters and we’re zero, and that’s the way it stands. There is no argument there and we certainly don’t have any qualms.”

He added: “It’s always a motivation when you lose against anyone, but especially someone very close to you with regards to Leinster.

“Last season we lost to Glasgow badly away, we lost to Edinburgh, we lost to the Ospreys at home, and we’ve been lucky enough to play well enough and get results against those sides (in recent weeks).

“But this game will be judged on its own merits, judged on its own environment which is different to where we have been for a period of time playing back at the Aviva Stadium. It’s one we are eagerly looking forward to.”

MUNSTER (v Leinster): Paul Warwick; Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Sam Tuitupou, Johne Murphy; Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy (capt).

Replacements: Sean Henry, Marcus Horan, Darragh Hurley, Mick O’Driscoll, David Wallace, Peter Stringer, Scott Deasy, Denis Hurley.