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Munster Include Howlett And Horan

Munster Include Howlett And Horan

Doug Howlett and Marcus Horan have both been named in Munster’s 29-man squad for their final match in the first phase of the RaboDirect PRO 12 against table toppers Ospreys at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm).

Forwards James Coughlan (neck) and Darragh Hurley (Achilles) will not be involved in this weekend’s game but should both be back when the league resumes later this month.

Between the Rugby World Cup and injuries, Munster are without 17 players – twelve of those being full internationals – yet a win on Saturday would move them back to the top of the table ahead of the short break.

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Though obviously disappointed with the outcome of last Friday’s defeat at Edinburgh, the province’s head coach Tony McGahan retained perspective.

“I think we’re in a stable position at this point in time. We’re four on one, we’re second in the table,” he said.

“It’s evidence that the competition is so close at this juncture with all of the sides missing a number of players through injuries or World Cup selection.

“So everyone’s taking points off each other, it hasn’t been kept to a closed shop – every side is winning. The Ospreys are top of the table and deservedly so. But it’s a very evenly-contested competition.”

Commenting on the ten changes he made for encounter with Edinburgh, he explained: “We have a squad of players here who’ve been training extremely hard over a long period of time.

“We had three trial games then six RaboDirect PRO12 games, that’s a nine-game block to get through. So we needed to make sure there was a lot of competition in the squad first off and that’s certainly been there.

“At the same time, we needed to make sure we were fresh and still running finishing off the six-game block rather than fading over the same period of time.

“So in terms of last weekend it was an opportunity for some players and also a chance to rest others and in turn have things right for what is a very important clash with the Ospreys on Saturday night.”

MUNSTER Squad (v Ospreys) – Backs (12): Scott Deasy, Sean Scanlon, Doug Howlett, Simon Zebo, Johne Murphy, Danny Barnes, Tom Gleeson, Lifeimi Mafi, Denis Hurley; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams, Peter Stringer.

Forwards (17): Marcus Horan, Wian du Preez, John Ryan, John Hayes, Stephen Archer, BJ Botha, Denis Fogarty, Sean Henry, Dave Foley, Ian Nagle, Mick O’Driscoll, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Dave O’Callaghan, Niall Ronan, Peter O’Mahony, Paddy Butler.