Brian O’Driscoll to miss Munster showdown
Star centre injured during training this week, Tuqiri to start at outside centre
Leinster’s Brian O’Driscoll in action against the Cardiff Blues last weekend. The Leinster centre will miss tomorrow’s match in Limerick.
Munster v Leinster (Thomond Park, Saturday 6.45pm): Brian O’Driscoll will miss tomorrow evening’s Pro12 derby against Munster after the Leinster centre picked up a calf injury during training this week.
The nature of the injury is not clear as of yet with the province explaining that the medical team will assess the problem over the weekend before making a decision on his availability for the Heineken Cup curtain-raiser against the Ospreys next week.
In O’Driscoll’s absence, Lote Tuqiri will start in the Leinster midfield alongside Gordon D’Arcy for the first time.
Sean O’Brien makes his first appearance of the season and comes into a formidable looking back row with Jamie Heaslip and Kevin McLaughlin.
Behind the scrum, Ian Madigan partners Eoin Reddan in the half backs while the back three is unchanged with Rob Kearney continuing at fullback and Dave Kearney and Fergus McFadden operating on the flanks.
Munster coach Rob Penney announced his side yesterday with Paul O’Connell and Felix Jones making their first starts of the season. Both players came off the bench against the Dragons last weekend and will be deployed from the start at Thomond Park.
Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; Donncha Ryan, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan. Replacements: Damien Varley, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Conor Murray, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.
Leinster: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Lote Tuqiri, Gordon D’Arcy, Dave Kearney; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross; Mike McCarthy, Devin Toner; Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss, Jimmy Gopperth, Luke Fitzgerald.
Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)