Munster name extended squad


MAGNERS LEAGUE TEAM NEWS:Munster's task of reclaiming the Magners League lead has been boosted by the return of a number of big game players but the availability of others has been threatened by a stomach bug. 

Captain Paul O'Connell, backrow Denis Leamy and scrumhalf Tomás O'Leary all return from injury and are included in an extended squad to face pacesetters Ospreys in Swansea on Friday night, though their primary focus will be preparation for the Heineken Cup meeting with Sale Sharks on the 16th.

The 28-man squad also includes internationals David Wallace, Marcus Horan and Keith Earls, as well as Ian Dowling, all of whom were rested for the defeat to Ulster. However, Horan and Earls, along with Niall Ronan, Mick O'Driscoll and Tony Buckley, are suffering from a stomach bug and sat out training today.

Coach John McGahan will trim his squad tomorrow but with four scrumhalves (O'Leary, Peter Stringer, Duncan Williams and Mike Prendergast) included today, the cull is likely to be focused largely on the back of the scrum.

Outhalf Ronan O'Gara is absent as he too targets Sale in his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained in the painful defeat to Ulster at Thomond Park last weekend.

Gavin Duffy is in line for a return to fullback ahead of Connacht's meeting with Llanelli Scarlets at the Sportsground on Friday (6.30pm).  

A hamstring injury prevented him from taking his place in the 26-18 defeat to Leinster at the RDS but he returns to a 25-man squad.

Keith Matthews has recovered from flu to take his place as well, while Brett Wilkinson and Ray Ofisa remain available for selection.

After a narrow defeat in the RDS and an historic win over Munster, the bottom side remain defiantly upbeat and the Scarlets will hold no fears for Michael Bradley and co.

They trail the Welsh side by 10 points but with the Cardiff Blues away to Leinster this weekend they will surely sense an opportunity to move off the bottom.

Cardiff are just four ahead of Connacht, so defeat by more than seven at the RDS and a bonus point win for Bradley's men would see the province move ahead of the Welsh side and possibly level with the Dragons who face an away trip to Glasgow.

Munster:D Hurley, D Howlett, K Earls, I Dowling, A Horgan, K Lewis, L Mafi, B Murphy, T O'Leary, D Williams, P Stringer, M Prendergast, J Manning, P Warwick, M Horan, F Pucciariello, J Hayes, T Ryan, J Flannery, D Fogarty, P O'Connell, M O'Driscoll, D O'Callaghan, A Quinlan, D Ryan, N Ronan, D Wallace, D Leamy.

Connacht squad:Liam Bibo, Andrew Browne, Kieran Campbell, Fionn Carr, Sean Cronin, Mel Deane, Gavin Duffy, Andy Dunne, Andrew Farley, Adrian Flavin, David Gannon, Ian Keatley, Ronan Loughney, John Lyne, Keith Matthews, Michael McCarthy, Robbie Morris, John Muldoon, Frank Murphy, Troy Nathan, Ray Ofisa, Colm Rigney, Michael Swift, Niva Ta'auso, Brett Wilkinson.