Coughlan returns for Munster
Rugby:With the Heineken Cup double-header against Saracens looming large on the horizon, Munster received a welcome shot in the arm today as Rob Penney was able to name James Coughlan in his starting XV for Saturday’s match against Glasgow. Coughlan returns from injury to link up with new signing CJ Stander in the back row at Thomond Park.
Stander made his debut in defeat to the Scarlets last weekend having joined up with Penney’s squad after his Currie Cup campaign with the Blue Bulls in South Africa ended at the end of last month. And Penney has wasted no time in re-integrating the majority of his Irish internatinols with Keith Earls, Simon Zebo, Ronan O’Gara, Donncha O’Callaghan, Donncha Ryan and Dave Kilcoyne all named in the side.
Glasgow will have seven of their players back from Scotland duty and looking to bounce back from their shock defeat at the hands of Tonga. Captain Ali Kellock comes back alongside Sean Lamont, Stuart Hogg, Henry Pyrgos, Dougie Hall and flanker John Barclay.
Glasgow’s record-breaking run of six straight PRO12 wins came to an end against Leinster last weekend and head coach Gregor Townsend is seeking a response and a first win in Ireland since 2011. “We know how tough it’s going to be at Thomond Park,” Townsend said. “They’ve only been beaten there once in the past 12 months.
“We’ve got to able to match them physically if we are to have a chance of winning over there. I’m delighted that we can put out a strong side this weekend though and, with a number of our Scotland boys back in the team, we’ll be doing everything we can to come back from Ireland with that elusive positive result.”
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, DTH Van Der Merwe; D Weir, H Pyrgos; R Grant, D Hall, M Cusack; T Swinson, A Kellock; R Harley, J Barclay, R Wilson. Replacements:P MacArthur, M Low, G Reid, J Strauss, J Eddie, N Matawalu, S Wight, B McGuigan