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Seven Changes For Munster

Seven Changes For Munster

Munster head coach Tony McGahan has made seven changes – two of them positional – for the province’s Heineken Cup Pool 3 clash with London Irish at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 3.30pm).

In the back-line, Paul Warwick, who suffered a heavy knock against Toulon, and Sam Tuitupou, who strained a hamstring in training this week, both miss out along with Peter Stringer.

Tomas O’Leary has been preferred to Stringer at scrum half, with Lifeimi Mafi and Denis Hurley returning to the starting line-up and Johne Murphy reverting to full-back.

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Paul O’Connell will have Mick O’Driscoll as his second row partner, while Niall Ronan will slot in at openside flanker, leaving David Wallace, Munster’s try scorer against Toulon, to make the move to the blindside.

Donncha O’Callaghan and James Coughlan are listed amongst the replacements, with Donnacha Ryan sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Scott Deasy and Tom Gleeson are included in the squad after impressing for Munster in the British & Irish Cup last weekend.

Speaking ahead of the round 6 clash with Irish, winger Denis Hurley said: “Of course, I understand the supporters’ disappointment (at not qualifying for the quarter-finals). We feel it just as keenly.

“People went to extraordinary lengths and huge expense in difficult times to support us last weekend in Toulon. And you like to repay that sort of loyalty. But I think we still can.

“I’d like to see last Sunday’s game, not as the ending that some people might, but as a starting point for us for the rest of the season.

“There’s a huge game ahead of us on Saturday. There’s our goal, set out at the start, to win our home games. There’s our record here at Thomond Park and the possibility of a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

“And there’s the Magners League after that, so really we have a lot that we can deliver on,” he added.

MUNSTER (v London Irish): Johne Murphy; Doug Howlett, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Denis Hurley; Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, John Hayes, Mick O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, David Wallace, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy (capt).

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Darragh Hurley, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, James Coughlan, Peter Stringer, Scott Deasy, Tom Gleeson.