As expected, Mick O’Driscoll will replace the injured Paul O’Connell in the Munster team for Saturday’s Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final clash with Brive at the Stadium Municipal (2pm local time/1pm Irish time).
Mick O’Driscoll is one of three personnel changes that Munster head coach Tony McGahan has made to the team that came from behind to beat Leinster last weekend.
Denis Leamy, who was a second half replacement for Donnacha Ryan in the Leinster game, will don the number 6 jersey.
Meanwhile, Sam Tuitupou, who is off to join an English Premiership side at the end of the season, will partner his cousin Lifeimi Mafi at centre with Johne Murphy given a bench role.
The Munster starting line-up includes two European debutants – full-back Felix Jones and scrum half Conor Murray – and the match marks the province’s first outing in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Speaking ahead of the game, lock Donncha O’Callaghan said: “The Amlin Challenge Cup is not where we set out to be, there’s no point in denying that. The Heineken Cup is the most important competition for us.
“It’s every team’s goal to play in the Heineken Cup, Brive have spoken this week about how they’d love to be in it. So we’re no different.
“We have a great tradition in it that sadly ended this year but that’s done with now. The thing is, when people ask are we facing into this weekend thinking of the Heineken Cup, we’re not. And is there a hangover…there’s not. Yes, there was but we’re well past that.
“We’re getting on a plane this morning to go play European rugby. We’d be feeling fairly sore if we were all sitting at home this morning with no game this weekend.”
He added: “Brive have won the Heineken Cup also and they’re going to be as tough as you’ll get at this stage. And you only have to look at the sort of teams that are in this Amlin Challenge Cup – Clermont Auvergne, Stade Francais, Montpelier, Harlequins, Wasps.
“I mean, any of them could win the Heineken Cup. I think Brive have beaten Clermont Auvergne and Stade Francais already, so we’re under no illusions about the task we face.”
MUNSTER (v Brive): Felix Jones; Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Sam Tuitupou, Keith Earls; Ronan O’Gara, Conor Murray; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Marcus Horan, John Hayes, Donnacha Ryan, Niall Ronan, Peter Stringer, Paul Warwick, Johne Murphy.