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O’Gara And Stringer To Start For Munster

O’Gara And Stringer To Start For Munster

Munster will certainly not lack for experience at half-back in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against the Newport Gwent Dragons, with Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara paired together from the off for the first time in 19 months.

It will be Peter Stringer’s first start for the Munster senior side since the Edinburgh game at Murrayfield around this time last year.

But between them, Ronan O’Gara and Stringer have amassed almost 450 competitive Munster caps with Stringer set to win a phenomenal 226th Munster cap at Thomond Park on Saturday.

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Injuries sustained in last weekend’s derby game against Ulster have ruled James Coughlan and Luke O’Dea out for a number of weeks and Denis Hurley and Ivan Dineen succumbed to illness this week, forcing head coach Rob Penney to ring the changes.

Ian Keatley reverts to full-back in place of Hurley, a position he occupied for the latter end of the game last weekend. The loss of O’Dea, who was in a rich vein of form, is softened by the availability of Ireland international Simon Zebo.

Paddy Butler might have expected to be preparing for the ‘A’ interprovincial later today against Connacht Eagles at Dooradoyle, but instead finds himself anchoring the scrum for the senior side.

After six games on the bounce Casey Laulala and Sean Dougall are given a break, so Keith Earls steps in for Laulala at outside centre with Niall Ronan back from injury to replace Dougall in the back row.

There is also a return to the matchday squad for Danny Barnes and a first ever inclusion for JJ Hanrahan after his late heroics at Deramore Park last Friday when his try and conversion helped Munster ‘A’ overhaul Ulster Ravens 19-17.

Tickets from €;20 are available to buy for the Munster v Dragons clash online here, from the Munster Rugby ticket offices in Musgrave Park and Thomond Park and will also be on sale on matchday.

MUNSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Ian Keatley; Doug Howlett (capt), Keith Earls, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Mike Sherry, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, David O’Callaghan, Niall Ronan, Paddy Butler.

Replacements: Damien Varley, Wian du Preez, Stephen Archer, David Foley, Tommy O’Donnell, Conor Murray, Danny Barnes, JJ Hanrahan.