Munster will lose the services of one of their most experienced and unsung players when lock Mick O’Driscoll retires from rugby at the end of the current season.
Mick O’Driscoll, who made his debut for the province back in August 1998, played his 204th competitive game against Glasgow Warriors last Saturday, contributing handsomely to the 35-29 victory that keeps Munster’s play-off hopes alive.
One of Munster’s most consistent performers, O’Driscoll made his Heineken Cup debut against Neath at Musgrave Park in September 1998.
He went on to win 55 Heineken caps for Munster and also seven for Perpignan in the course of a two-season stint with the French club.
This season, the 33-year-old second row has played in 17 of Munster’s 27 matches to date, captaining the side in ten of those games.
He was captain of the side that was narrowly beaten by New Zealand in the memorable clash that officially opened Thomond Park Stadium in November 2008.
O’Driscoll has been included in the extended Munster squad named this afternoon for their RaboDirect PRO12 encounter with the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday.
Tony McGahan’s charges will travel to Wales without a number of their first choice players owing to a lengthy injury list.
Ronan O’Gara (leg), David Wallace (knee), James Coughlan (hand), Doug Howlett (hand), Niall Ronan (knee), Denis Leamy (hip) and Danny Barnes (knee) are among those sidelined at present.
MUNSTER Squad (v Scarlets) – Backs (13): Tomas O’Leary, Conor Murray, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Scott Deasy, Simon Zebo, Lifeimi Mafi, Keith Earls, Ivan Dineen, Johne Murphy, Luke O’Dea, Denis Hurley, Felix Jones.
Forwards (17): Marcus Horan, Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Mike Sherry, Denis Fogarty, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, BJ Botha, Stephen Archer, Mick O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony, Paddy Butler.