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Munster Ring The Changes For Ulster Test

Munster Ring The Changes For Ulster Test

Just three players who started for Munster against Connacht last weekend remain in the starting line-up for Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 derby match against Ulster at Ravenhill (kick-off 6.45pm).

A four-day turnaround, injuries and the unavailability of his top players means Munster boss Tony McGahan must once again ring the changes for what is always one of the province’s most difficult assignments of the season.

Mick O’Driscoll, Ian Keatley and Luke O’Dea are the trio who have held onto their starting berths, while the likes of Danny Barnes and Niall Ronan, after 10 and 11 starts respectively, have been given a well-earned rest.

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Stand-in captain O’Driscoll said: “Given the very short turnaround and looking at their selection for the Leinster game last week, Ulster have clearly identified this game as the priority.

“Understandable really, they’re at home, no side likes to lose at their own ground. So I think it sets out very clearly the task we face.

“But these are the sort of games you want to be judged on. We’ve a lot of young lads going there tomorrow. Some for the first time. It’s going to be very testing and very interesting.”

Munster’s injury list is a lengthy one at the moment, with David Wallace (knee), Troy Smith (knee), Felix Jones (foot), Jerry Flannery (calf), Doug Howlett (Achilles), Darragh Hurley (back), Mike Sherry (ankle), Peter O’Mahony (jaw), Denis Leamy (hip), Declan Cusack (shoulder) and Sean Scanlon (shoulder) all nursing knocks.

MUNSTER (v Ulster): Denis Hurley; Luke O’Dea, Tom Gleeson, Lifeimi Mafi, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Stephen Archer, Ian Nagle, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), David O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Marcus Horan, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Tomas O’Leary, Scott Deasy, Will Chambers.