Much-changed Munster face a stiff test against Glasgow Warriors
Opportunity knocks for JJ Hanrahan who starts in his favoured position of outhalf
JJ Hanrahan: will be under the spotlight when league leaders Munster take on Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
The auguries look promising, first versus third in the table and a repeat of last year’s Guinness Pro12 semi-final at today’s venue in which the Glasgow Warriors squeezed home, 16-15. The only cavil is that both teams are appreciably below strength through a mixture of injuries and player management programmes.
Munster coach Anthony Foley makes eight changes from the side that lost to Clermont Auvergne last week, the majority of which can be found in the pack. John Ryan maintains his place at loosehead prop and is joined by young hooker Kevin O’Byrne and tighthead Stephen Archer.
Billy Holland, Sean Dougall and Robin Copeland replace Dave Foley, Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander respectively while behind the scrum JJ Hanrahan moves to outhalf, Denis Hurley and Pat Howard renew a centre partnership and Johne Murphy starts at fullback.
The Warriors have three Scotland internationals, Stuart Hogg (knee), Alex Dunbar (head) and Sean Maitland (leg) out injured. Coach Gregor Townsend replaces the entire front row that started against Toulouse last weekend, while scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos and secondrow Tim Swinson drop to the bench, where they are joined by Munster old boy James Downey.
The home side have sold 6,000 tickets for the game.
Munster will know a lot more about the depth of their squad after this match and how Hanrahan manages the game from his favoured position of outhalf. Glasgow look a little stronger in key positions but Munster’s grit and work ethic might help secure them a bonus point.
GLASGOW: P Murchie; S Lamont, R Vernon, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; F Russell, N Matawalu; G Reid, F Brown, E Murray; L Nakarawa, J Gray; R Harley, T Holmes, J Strauss (capt). Replacements: D Hall, A Allan, J Welsh, T Swinson, R Wilson, H Pyrgos, J Downey, T Seymour.
MUNSTER: J Murphy; A Conway, P Howard, D Hurley, S Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, C Murray; J Ryan, K O’Byrne, S Archer; B Holland, P O’Connell; P O’Mahony (capt), S Dougall, R Copeland. Replacements: N Scannell, E Guinazu, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Dave O’Callaghan, D Williams, I Keatley, F Jones. Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)