Munster continue their challenge for a RaboDirect PRO12 spot when they welcome fourth-placed Glasgow Warriors to Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 6.30pm).
James Coughlan will captain the side this weekend in the absence of Peter O’Mahony, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season following reconstructive shoulder surgery.
Speaking after training yesterday, Munster head coach Rob Penney spoke of the importance of O’Mahony’s involvement in team matters for the remainder of the campaign.
“Peter has an important role still to play, he will do some analysis for us and he’ll be supporting the group in behind the scenes with us coaches and the players, helping prepare for the games ahead,” he said.
“I spoke to him following the surgery and he was in a buoyant enough mood given the disappointment of the news.
“Peter is a pragmatic type person so he’s approaching it with a real view of getting himself right for the long-term.
“The surgeon said it was a great success, they had to do a little bit more than they thought, so hopefully now he can start into his rehab.
“I wouldn’t want to put a time on his return but it will be a protracted length of time and the key now is that he rehabs it well and doesn’t try to fix it too early.”
This weekend sees a total of seven personnel changes to the Munster side that started last Saturday against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup.
BJ Botha is the only front row member to remain in situ, and will pack down alongside Duncan Casey at hooker and John Ryan at loosehead prop. Both Casey and Ryan gained valuable Heineken Cup experience last weekend.
Paul O’Connell is rested this week so Munster’s most-capped player, Donncha O’Callaghan, joins David Foley in the second row to win cap number 247.
Following on from his man-of-the-match display against Toulouse, CJ Stander starts this week at blindside flanker with Sean Dougall returning at openside and stand-in captain Coughlan completing the back row at number 8.
JJ Hanrahan joins Conor Murray in the half-backs while the back-line sees Keith Earls move to outside centre in the absence of Casey Laulala, who continues to recuperate after sustaining a fractured bone in his right hand against Toulouse.
Gerhard van den Heever takes Earls’ position on the right wing, the South African flyer hoping to add to his tally of two tries in six matches in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Munster also include a wealth of experience on a replacements bench that includes four of last weekend’s matchday 23.
MUNSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Felix Jones; Gerhard van den Heever, Keith Earls, James Downey, Simon Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; John Ryan, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, David Foley, CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan (capt).
Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, David Kilcoyne, Alan Cotter, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Johne Murphy.