Munster's international brigade time return well

Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 00:00

As ever on weekends preceding the Heineken Cup there is a whiff of next week about this week and Munster are looking for some form before facing Saracens back to back.

Coach Rob Penney has brought in a rump of his international players in the form of Keith Earls, Simon Zebo, Ronan O’Gara, Donnacha Ryan and Dave Kilcoyne.

Zebo is back on the wing, with Felix Jones preferred at fullback, while James Coughlan is back from a September injury and is in at number eight, South Africa’s CJ Stander making his first start for the province at blindside flanker.

Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend too has a number of players back from Scotland duty. Duncan Weir returns at outhalf and Stuart Hogg, Ryan Grant and Al Kellock all start, with Sean Lamont back on the wing.

The Glasgow side’s record-breaking run of six straight PRO12 wins came to an end against Leinster (0-6) on a stormy night in Glasgow last Friday and Townsend wants to see his team get back to winning ways. “We’ve got to able to match them physically if we are to have a chance of winning over there,” he says.

Munster have not lost here since Leinster won there in March. In the week before the Heineken Cup, they will not want a repeat.

MUNSTER: F Jones; D Howlett (capt), K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; R O’Gara, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; D O’Callaghan, D Ryan; CJ Stander, T O’Donnell, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Varley, W du Preez, S Archer, B Holland, P Butler, P Stringer, I Keatley, C Laulala.

GLASGOW: P Murchie; S Lamont, S Hogg, P Horne, D Van Der Merwe; D Weir, H Pyrgos; R Grant, D Hall, M Cusack, T Swinson, A Kellock (c), R Harley, J Barclay, R Wilson. Replacements: P MacArthur, M Low, G Reid, J Strauss, J Eaddie, N Matawalu, S Wight, B McGuigan. Referee: I Davies (WRU). Verdict: Munster

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