Ronan O’Gara has been selected in Munster’s enlarged squad for Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final against the Ospreys, putting him in line for his first appearance since the Heineken Cup quarter-final loss to Ulster.
Ronan O’Gara suffered a leg injury in the Munster game that has kept him sidelined until this week.
The out-half’s return comes at a more than opportune time as Munster’s latest bout of injuries has removed captain Paul O’Connell and Damien Varley from the Swansea equation.
Commenting on their semi-final opponents, Munster head coach Tony McGahan said: “The Ospreys are in a good position. They seem to have a lot of passion, a lot of spirit about what they are doing now.
“They are certainly aiming to win a title this year. I don’t think there is any doubt about that.”
Munster are in the league play-offs for the third successive year and are hoping to become the first team to successfully defend the title.
McGahan’s men are unbeaten in their last three games, and have lost only once on the road in any competition in 2012, going down 21-17 to Aironi in round 14 of the RaboDirect PRO12.
“I am delighted with the way the players have reacted from the quarter-final exit in the Heineken Cup, getting results against Glasgow and the Scarlets, who were battling away for a place in the top four, and also Ulster.
“We were happy with the performance (in the 36-8 win over Ulster) and the way the guys played. We would like to finish off a few more things, but that eagerness more than anything, so certainly a step forward.
“For us, the game (against Ulster) certainly wasn’t about revenge. You only get one opportunity to win a (Heineken Cup) quarter-final and we didn’t take it.
“That opportunity was gone, so if we had scored 10 tries against them, it wouldn’t have made up for that obviously. It was more about ourselves and getting refocused on this competition.”
Munster and the Ospreys met at this same stage last season when the province won 18-11 at Thomond Park. The Munstermen have won twice before at Liberty Stadium, 25-21 in January 2009 and 22-20 in April 2011.
MUNSTER Squad (v Ospreys) – Backs (12): Felix Jones, Danny Barnes, Johne Murphy, Ivan Dineen, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo, Tomas O’Leary, Conor Murray, Scott Deasy, Ian Keatley, Ronan O’Gara.
Forwards (15): Dave Kilcoyne, Wian du Preez, Stephen Archer, John Ryan, Mike Sherry, Denis Fogarty, Sean Henry, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O’Donnell, David O’Callaghan, Peter O’Mahony, Paddy Butler.