This Saturday evening Munster return to RaboDirect PRO12 action and welcome fourth placed Glasgow Warriors to Thomond Park, ko 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 earlier this week.
Speaking after training yesterday, Head Coach Rob Penney spoke of the importance of squad captain O’Mahony’s involvement for the remainder of the season, “Peter has an important role still to play, he’ll 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.
“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 from the 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 loose head. 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 Dave 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, Sean Dougall returns at open-side, with Captain James Coughlan completing the back row at 8.
This week JJ Hanrahan joins Murray in the half back partnership 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 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 the bench that includes four of last weekend’s match day team.
Munster: 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, Dave Foley, CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan Capt. Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Dave Kilcoyne, Alan Cotter, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Johne Murphy.
Tickets are on sale for the game online here, from the ticket offices in Musgrave Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 0818 719 300. Kick-off the school Easter holidays in Thomond Park on Saturday night. Kids go free with the Family Terrace ticket packs – €;40 for 2 adults and 2 kids.