O’Gara not included for Munster’s last Pro 12 match of the season
Most of the team that lost in the Heineken Cup will not make the trip to face Zebre
A tearful Ronan O’Gara after Munster’s Heineken Cup semi-final defeat to Clermont last Saturday. Photograph: Inpho
Ronan O’Gara’s tearful lap of the pitch with his son Rua last weekend after Munster made their exit from the Heineken Cup at the semi-final stage in Montpellier may have been his last game in the red shirt. O’Gara has not been selected for Munster’s final league game of the season, which would appear to be most definitely his decision.
The match will make little difference to mid-table Munster, although, they too will know that Zebre have not won a game all season and one mighty effort for the last time out could be on the cards.
O’Gara said he would make up his mind on his career away from the immediate disappointment of Europe and whether last week was his final game for Munster, it was his last match of this season as it closes in Italy tonight.
In truth, though, the 36-year-old is not the only player that lined out against Clermont Auvergne not to be making the plane to Parma in what is clearly a dead rubber for the Irish side.
Most of the frontliners are left at home with the notable exception of secondrow Paul O’Connell, who was the only Munster player named on Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad on Tuesday.
Besides O’Connell, of those who started last Saturday against Clermont, just three – Casey Laulala, Dave Kilcoyne and Mike Sherry – will start this evening at the Stadio XXV Aprille in a much-changed side.
Zebre lineout with as strong a looking team as they can muster which includes Marco Bergamasco, the flanker who was not cited for tackling Brian O’Driscoll off the ball and then dropping him. Last time out Munster won 29-3.
MUNSTER: D Hurley; R O’Mahony, C Laulala, I Keatley, J Murphy; JJ Hanrahan, C Sheridan; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, J Ryan; B Holland, P O’Connell (capt), Dave O’Callaghan, S Dougall, P Butler. Replacements: D Varley, J Cronin, BJ Botha, I Nagle, B Holland, D Williams, C Bohane, F Jones.
ZEBRE: R Trevisan; G Venditti, A Benettin, G Garcia, S Sinoti; D Halangahu, T Tebaldi; I Aguero, D Giazzon, D Ryan, J Sole, M Bortolami (capt), M Bergamasco, A Van Schalkwyk. Replacements: A Mancini, L Leibson, A de Marchi, E Caffini, F Chritiano, A Chillion, M Pratichetti, S Pace.
Referee: A Menemy (SRU)
Verdict: Munster win.