Full-back/winger Denis Hurley and forwards Mike Sherry and BJ Botha have been added to Munster’s preliminary 26-man squad for their RaboDirect PRO12 encounter with the Scarlets on Saturday.
The league match against the Scarlets at Musgrave Park (kick-off 7.45pm) serves as a reminder of what has to be the most positive of responses to defeat.
Back in March 2007 Munster fetched up for a Heineken Cup quarter-final at Stradey Park as reigning champions, only to be beaten every bit as emphatically as the 24-15 final scoreline suggests.
And those who claim that you learn much, if not more about yourself in defeat than in victory will be pleased to hear that since then Munster have won their subsequent eleven encounters with the Welsh region.
That includes back-to-back wins during the 2007/08 Heineken Cup campaign, at the end of which the province lifted the trophy again.
Interestingly, of the 22 players on duty in Llanelli four years ago, only five – Lifeimi Mafi, Peter Stringer, Marcus Horan, John Hayes and Mick O’Driscoll – have been named in the extended squad which was finalised after today’s training session in Cork IT.
Five more – Ronan O’Gara, Jerry Flannery, Donncha O’Callaghan, Denis Leamy and Donnacha Ryan – are in Auckland preparing for Ireland’s Rugby World Cup match against Australia.
A further nine players on duty that dat – Christian Cullen, John Kelly, Barry Murphy, Trevor Halstead, Ian Dowling, Alan Quinlan, Frankie Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello and Anthony Foley – have since retired from professional rugby.
Between them, Mafi, Horan, Hayes, O’Driscoll and Stringer, have amassed over 900 competitive caps for the province. If scrum half Stringer gets game-time on Saturday, it will mark the 220th time he has pulled on the Munster jersey.
MUNSTER Squad (v Scarlets) – Backs (11): Johne Murphy, Denis Hurley, Scott Deasy, Doug Howlett, Danny Barnes, Lifeimi Mafi, Tom Gleeson, Simon Zebo, Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams, Peter Stringer.
Forwards (15): Wian du Preez, Denis Fogarty, Mike Sherry, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, John Hayes, Marcus Horan, Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Billy Holland, Mick O’Driscoll, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan.