It is third plays fourth at Musgrave Park on Saturday as both Munster and Glasgow Warriors look to take a step closer to qualifying for the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs. There is a real onus on Tony McGahan’s side to bounce back after their disappointing exit from Europe.
RABODIRECT PRO12: Saturday, April 14
MUNSTER (3rd) v GLASGOW WARRIORS (4th), Musgrave Park, 7.15pm (live RTÉ Two/BBC ALBA)
Team News: With seven members of their squad from the Heineken Cup loss to Ulster ruled out through injury, Munster have been forced to reshuffle their side for Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Glasgow Warriors.
BJ Botha (ribs), captain Paul O’Connell (knee), James Coughlan (hand), Keith Earls (ankle), Ronan O’Gara (leg), Denis Hurley (leg) and David Wallace (knee) are all sidelined for the visit of the Scottish side.
Danny Barnes (knee), Dave Foley (shoulder), Ian Nagle (shoulder) and David O’Callaghan (knee) are also on the province’s injury list.
That means that just three of the pack from the Ulster game retain their starting positions, while there are five changes to the starting backs.
Corkman Donncha O’Callaghan will win his 200th Munster cap, linking up in the second row with Mick O’Driscoll, who captains the side.
The versatile Peter O’Mahony moves to number 8 in the absence of Coughlan with Donnacha Ryan slotting in at blindside flanker.
In the backs, Johne Murphy takes over from Earls at outside centre, Luke O’Dea replaces Hurley out wide and Ian Keatley is in for the injured O’Gara at out-half with scrum half Tomas O’Leary preferred on this occasion to Conor Murray.
O’Callaghan joins an elite band of players to achieve the feat, the last of which was his fellow lock O’Driscoll.
The other current players to have played 200 times for Munster are O’Gara, Wallace and Marcus Horan, while the returning Peter Stringer, the recently retired Alan Quinlan and John Hayes and current forwards coach Anthony Foley are also members of the 200 caps club.
Meanwhile, the Glasgow Warriors team for the game shows six changes to the side that saw off the Cardiff Blues 31-3 in the last round of league action.
Three of the switches are injury enforced, Ryan Wilson and Graeme Morrison missing with knee injuries and John Barclay not having recovered sufficiently from the blow to the head he sustained in the Cardiff tie.
Peter Murchie, an early replacement for Morrison against the Welsh region, will start at full-back in Cork, with Stuart Hogg and Alex Dunbar teaming up in the centre. Ruaridh Jackson is named at out-half.
Jon Welsh and Pat MacArthur come into the front row, Richie Gray starts in the engine room while Johnnie Beattie will line out at number 8 in place of the injured Wilson.
MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Luke O’Dea, Johne Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Tomas O’Leary; Wian du Preez, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony.
Replacements: Damien Varley, Marcus Horan, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Conor Murray, Scott Deasy, Ivan Dineen.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Peter Murchie; Federico Aramburu, Stuart Hogg, Alex Dunbar, Colin Shaw; Ruaridh Jackson, Chris Cusiter; Jon Welsh, Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Richie Gray, Al Kellock (capt), Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Johnnie Beattie.
Replacements: Dougie Hall, Ryan Grant, Moray Low, Tom Ryder, Calum Forrester, Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir, Tommy Seymour.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton, Jonathan Peak (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Munster to win: 2/7; Draw: 22/1; Glasgow Warriors to win: 13/5
Pre-Match Quotes: Tony McGahan (Munster) – “It (The Heineken Cup defeat to Ulster) was 22-16 against a side who didn’t have one phase in our bottom 25-30 metres in the whole game, not one. That’s certainly difficult to take.
“The deeper you go into any competition, the more you invest emotionally, time wise and energy wise. It is always difficult (to lose). If we had got to the next step it would have been even more difficult, and if we got to a final it would have been even more difficult again.
“And it is not just the players. The playing group are deeply hurt, the management, the branch, the supporters, the families, the wives, the kids. They all put up with a lot to get to that point and sacrifice the lot.
“You need to have time to reflect and get over it personally. We didn’t come together as a group until Wednesday, so we have had that opportunity.
“The game moves on, we need to train and we need to get on with it. It is not easy but it is what we are here to do and what we are about and how we react is very important.
“Where we finish, we probably don’t have a huge amount of control because of the nature of the game, but what we do know is that if we look after our own end we’ll be in the semi-finals.”
Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “This is the latest in a long line of massive tests for the team. Munster away is one of the toughest games you can get, but the players have consistently risen to the challenges that have been put in front of them this season and we’ve every confidence they can deliver again.
“We’ve only lost one of our last fifteen matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 and the quality of our performances in the home wins against Aironi and Cardiff Blues was very pleasing. Everyone needs to take it up another notch if we’re to claim another positive result again this weekend.
“In terms of consistency and intensity, Munster have set the standard for the rest of European rugby in the last decade or so.
“We’ve massive respect for what they have achieved, but we’re very clear about our own objectives and we travel there with confidence.”
Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Munster – Points: Ian Keatley 147; Tries: Simon Zebo 6; Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 169; Tries: Jon Welsh, Colin Shaw 3 each
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Friday, March 27, 2009 – Glasgow Warriors 13 Munster 26, Firhill Stadium
Friday, September 4, 2009 – Munster 22 Glasgow Warriors 9, Firhill Stadium
Friday, March 26, 2010 – Munster 27 Glasgow Warriors 19, Thomond Park
Friday, September 24, 2010 – Glasgow Warriors 29 Munster 43, Firhill Stadium
Saturday. January 8, 2011 – Munster 22 Glasgow Warriors 20, Musgrave Park
Friday, September 9, 2011 – Glasgow Warriors 12 Munster 23, Firhill Stadium
– Munster have slipped to three defeats in their last four matches in all competitions
– The Munstermen have lost their last two home games, but both were at Thomond Park, whilst at Musgrave Park Munster have won 14 in-a-row since losing there to Glasgow Warriors in May 2008
– Glasgow Warriors are undefeated in their last six matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 and have drawn their last two games against Irish opponents
– The Warriors’ only victory in Ireland since December 2009 was a 23-19 triumph at Leinster last September
– Munster have won their last four matches against Glasgow