O'Connell likely to miss season opener
Rugby:Munster coach Rob Penney confirmed that Paul O’Connell will miss the start of the season. “It just depends on how he is over the next 10 days or so but it’s highly unlikely that he will be available for the first round of matches.
“We want to be able to unleash him when he is 100 per cent. He is at the stage in his career when he needs consistent rugby and when he gets that, he is one of the best locks in the world.”
Penny confirmed that the luckless Felix Jones would not be back until Christmas after his rehabilitation time following shoulder surgery in May was extended from four to seven months. There was better news for flanker Niall Ronan who is close to full fitness.
The Munster coach makes four changes to his starting team for the second of the pre-season friendlies when the Irish province takes on Bristol at Musgrave Park on Friday evening (7.0).
Hooker Damien Varley, who missed the trip to La Rochelle, returns from injury while Casey Laulala Dave Foley and Paddy Butler are in from the start ahead of Danny Barnes, Brian Hayes and James Coughlan. Hayes and Barnes are both named on an extended bench.
Munster:D Hurley; D Howlett (capt), C Laulala, J Downey, L O’Dea; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, S Archer; B Holland, D Foley; T O’Donnell, S Dougall, P Butler. Replacements: W du Preez, M Horan, BJ Botha, S Henry, D Casey, B Hayes, P Donnellan, Dave O’Callaghan, B O’Mahony, P Stringer, S Deasy, D Barnes, J Murphy, S Scanlon.