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Tough Task Awaiting Munster At The Gnoll

25th February 2010 By Munster Rugby

The last time Anthony Foley fetched up at The Gnoll he captained a Munster side who were playing a new entity, the Neath-Swansea Ospreys, just in their second season as one of the regional Welsh sides.

The last time Anthony Foley fetched up at The Gnoll he captained a Munster side who were playing a new entity, the Neath-Swansea Ospreys, just in their second season as one of the regional Welsh sides.

That was back in October 2004, a Heineken Cup game Munster won 20-18 and since then the Ospreys as they’re now called operate out of the swish Liberty Stadium in Swansea, where some of the ‘old school’ Neath supporter wouldn’t dream of visiting.

But they’ll be at their beloved Gnoll on Saturday where Foley expects his side to receive the stiff sort of examination he well remembers from his playing days. " Yeh I’ve played there a few times. Always was a tough place to play, tough place to get a result and I don’t expect Saturday will be any different."

Munster go there with three British & Irish Cup wins under their belts but knowing that guarantees them nothing in terms of qulaifying for the semi-finals. "Obviously we’re in a good position, top of the table," says Foley, " But one slip up and you mightn’t qualify out of your group. With one team to qualify it’s a tough one to get out of and we’re very conscious of that going to the Gnoll. If we do do get a result, that’ll be impressive."

Foley and Ian Costello have made several changes from the side that overcame Nottingham in Waterford, arguably the most noticeable, the inclusion of Nick Williams at number 8. " Nick is coming back from injury and with the senior side have shipped a few injuries it’s an opportunity for Nick to get game time and hopefully get back into the mix for Munster. We’re happy to give him that opportunity." explained Foley.

"Likewise Jeremy Manning on the bench," he continued. "He’s coming back from long term injury so it’s good see him back in the squad."

But Munster have retaned the core of the side that has served them so well this season. Peter O’Mahony captains the side, this time from the open side wing forward berth while Duncan Williams, Scott Deasy and Tom Gleeson return having missed out last time because of their involvement with the warm-weather training squad.

Missing through injury this time around are prop Mike Sherry (hamstring) who will be replaced by Sean Henry while Dolphin pair centre Eric Moloney and Barry O’Mahony miss out because they play with the Ireland Club team against the England Counties side at Stourbridge on Friday night.

"Preparation was a bit disrupted this week with the weather." Foley reports." We had to go indoors on Tuesday and that’s not ideal. Got in a good bit of work today (Thursday) in Cork. Everyone is keen to play, we fly over tomorrow and looking forward to it.

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