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Munster Stick With Same Squad

Munster Stick With Same Squad

The Munster management have plumped for an unchanged 28-man squad for Saturday’s return match against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium (kick-off 3.30pm).

Regular captain Paul O’Connell has been included despite facing a disciplinary hearing at ERC headquarters in Dublin on Thursday.

O’Connell, who was red carded in last weekend’s win over the Ospreys, was with the Munster squad on Wednesday morning when they trained at the Cork Institute of Technology’s grounds in Bishopstown.

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Munster’s British & Irish Cup squad also trained with their senior counterparts as they prepare for Sunday’s pool game against Bristol at the Memorial Stadium.

The current situation in Pool 3 of the Heineken Cup sees leaders Munster holding a two-point lead over Toulon (eight points), with the Ospreys (six) and London Irish (five) still in the hunt.

With Munster failing to pick up a try-scoring bonus point in the 22-16 victory in Limerick last Sunday, lock Mick O’Driscoll knows they will have to raise their game to get a result in Swansea.

“I think we are certainly a level off where we were when we played against Toulon here in October. We were a little disappointed with certain aspects of last weekend’s game,” he said.

“For some reason we felt it was a game that we never got going to the level we felt we thought we would.

“When we got the third try (from Johne Murphy), things were tipping along nicely. But we seemed to stop at that which was a bit disappointing.”

O’Driscoll’s second row colleague Donncha O’Callaghan said: “It’s really pretty much more of the same in an analysis sense (this week).

“You only have the one game to focus on this week, while last week we had to look at a few of them. This time as well we have to look more at ourselves. How we played. Look at the areas we need to improve on.

“Last week the pressure was all on us but this time it switches because in a pool like this you just have to win your home games. So that might leave us play a little bit more.”

Tony McGahan’s extended squad for the away leg includes Tom Gleeson, Scott Deasy, Donnacha Ryan and Dave Ryan, who all featured in the British & Irish Cup win over Melrose last Saturday, while Niall Ronan is also back in the selection mix.

MUNSTER Squad (v Ospreys) – Backs (12): Tomas O’Leary, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Paul Warwick, Johne Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Tom Gleeson, Scott Deasy, Denis Hurley, Sam Tuitupou, Keith Earls, Doug Howlett.

Forwards (16): Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Mike Sherry, Darragh Hurley, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Dave Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, James Coughlan, David Wallace, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy.